Authorities unsure what led ATV to go off Arizona cliff

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP/KSAZ) - Authorities in northern Arizona are trying to figure out how an ATV went off a cliff, killing all four men riding in it.

Coconino County Sheriff's officials recovered the bodies Monday of the victims of a weekend crash near Blue Ridge.

Sheriff's spokesman Jon Paxton says investigators are continuing to look into how the all-terrain vehicle veered off a forest road and plunged 400 feet.

Paxton says the four men were from metro Phoenix area and had been on a camping trip in the Payson area.

The four victims have been identified as 38-year-old Enrique Lopez of Phoenix, 37-year-old Reymond Martinez of Phoenix, 35-year-old Manuel Ladislao Bracamonte of Glendale, and 17-year-old Abraham Javier Rodriguez Delgado of Chandler.

Rodriguez Delgado was a student at Chandler High School and his family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with funeral costs.

"I lost my baby. I lost my angel. I lost my life. I don't want this to happen to anybody else," said Abraham's father, Frank Rodriguez.

Family members also identified Rey Martinez as the driver, a Valley real estate agent.

The Saturday crash also sparked a 10-acre fire, which made it difficult for rescuers to get to the victims.

The road has since reopened.

The spokesperson for the Coconino County Sheriff's Office said he hasn't seen many crashes on Forest Service Road 300, where the accident happened. However, they do plan to look into exactly how many accident have occurred in previous years in that area first, before making any recommendations of changes to that roadway.


Bridget Bruch, who lives in Phoenix, says she was camping by the rim in Payson, which is about 19 miles from the crash scene. She says she had a great time with her husband, but the drive there was dangerous and when she heard about the accident, she was not surprised.

"Traffic was terrible on this road, and the visibility was basically zero at times."

Bruch still has her camping equipment out from her weekend getaway.

"I remember saying to my husband at one point during the weekend, I'm surprised no one has died up here. this is so dangerous."

Bruch describes the area as very bush, not paved and full of vehicles being driven above the speed limit.

"People were going so fast, it would be unsafe to go 25 because the dust was so thick. You couldn't see many car lights ahead of you."

When we asked Bruch about what she believes should be done, she told us the roads there need to be paved, considering the traffic and law enforcement should be there to make sure drivers are following the speed limit.