Man goes for help after truck plunges 250 ft. off cliff

Man goes for help after truck plunges 250 ft. off cliff

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APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. -

A pickup truck carrying four people went over a cliff at the Fish Creek Hill overpass near State Route 88 and Mile Post 222, east of the valley.

This happened at 1 a.m. Tuesday in a very rural area on a winding mountain road, full of turns and switchbacks. 24-year-old Jason McPeek was driving with 27-year-old Arthur James Ritchie, 21-year-old Caitlyn Stout and 29-year-old Genevieve Williams.

Authorities say McPeek missed a turn, hit a sign -- then the vehicle tumbled 250 feet down the cliff before landing upright. There was no cell phone service, and no way to get help. The nearest town with cell service was 10 miles away.

But Ritchie did something pretty heroic to get help for his three friends. In complete darkness, he climbed out of the truck and scaled the canyon, barefoot.

"Man came in holding a rag to his head, bloody, called 911," said Tom Easterday, who works in Tortilla Flat, which is about 17 miles north of Apache Junction.

"We got him an ice pack, something to drink, basically tried to make him as comfortable as he could."

Once scaling the canyon, Ritchie walked on the road until a car happened to pass by and offered him a ride.

"I felt bad. What can you say. The boy went from 1:30 to 6:30 trying to get help," said Easterday.

Firefighters and paramedics arrived to do a "steep angle rescue" and when they arrived to the wreck, one of the women was seriously injured.  They had to airlift her to an area hospital for treatment. The other two in the canyon had less serious injuries.

As for the hero in this story, he will be ok.

According to Department of Public Safety officials, McPeek and his three passengers were all wearing seat belts. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Video: FOX 10's Mia Garcia reports.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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