Arizona Man Hit by Car in Alleged Street Drag Race

Arizona Man Hit by Car in Alleged Street Drag RaceA man from Central, Arizona, had to be flown to The University of Arizona Medical Center-University Campus in Tucson on Sunday, March 11, after he was hit by a speeding car, the Eastern Arizona Courier reports.

According to the news source, 19-year-old Marcus Jareth Layton was standing on the street side of a parked red 2003 Dodge Dakota pickup truck on Safford/Bryce Road when he was allegedly struck by a white 2009 Volkswagen GTI that was traveling at a high rate of speed in the eastbound lanes.

A Graham County Sheriff’s Office report indicates Layton had to be airlifted via the medical helicopter LifeNet 10 to the Tucson hospital, where his injuries were treated. Sheriff P.J. Allred told the news source the man’s most serious injury appeared to be in one of his legs, which could potentially have been broken in the car accident. Layton was kept in the hospital for two days before being released on Tuesday.

According to the media outlet, Jace Courtney Murphy, 20, of Safford, was driving the Volkswagen at the time of the crash, and originally said he and eight others were called to the area to help Layton change a tire on his truck. Later Murphy tweaked his official statement, saying he was “practicing his starts” for an upcoming drag race when he lost control of the car and swerved into Layton.

Another witness to the accident said Murphy drove him to the scene, and was watching Murphy as he drove along Safford/Bryce Road. He said that from the street, it looked like Murphy lost control of the car because of the rapid movement of the headlights. When it looked like Layton was hit, he rushed to help, the news source stated.

Police officers were sent to the scene at about 10:55 p.m., where they found that the Volkswagen had flipped upside down after hitting Layton and his truck, however the car had been corrected by witnesses and was again on its tires. Witnesses told the police a number of other people and cars fled the area as the authorities arrived. Police say the majority of the witnesses were between the ages of 19 and 22.

Allred stated that all evidence suggests illegal drag racing, however, the case is still under formal investigation by the sheriff’s office, and no citations have been given out at this time. Allred added that though the accident was unfortunate, the outcome could have been far worse, and everyone involved was lucky nobody was fatally injured in the high-speed car crash.

“They were definitely out there doing something they shouldn’t have been doing,” Allred said. “Anytime you put kids out there with cars in the middle of the night on straight stretches of roads, usually bad things happen. They might go good for a long time, but it only takes one mess-up, and then here we are, we [have] a kid in UMC.”

Investigators are still working to determine who was involved in the alleged illegal drag racing, however hard evidence at the scene shows Murphy was traveling faster than the posted speed as a number of people watched him, the news provider stated.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the most common citation given after an accident is speeding too fast for conditions. In total, the state saw 106,177 crashes in 2010, 33,195 of which resulted in injuries. Another 698 accidents led to the deaths of 762 people.