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Sun, Sept. 20

Massive I-40 accident will not be forgotten soon

The majority of those residing in the Williams area frequently travel Interstate 40 between Williams and Flagstaff - so much so that it's impossible to remember all the times we've driven that route. Traffic increases dramatically on weekends when many travel between the two cities to recreate and shop. Any of us could have been on I-40 around noon on Sunday, March 16. Some of us were. The accident claimed the life of one of our own.

Department of Public Safety officials attribute the 139-car pileup to poor weather conditions - blowing snow and low visibility - combined with people driving too fast. Also, statistics reflect that six out of 10 vehicles traveling on I-40 are 18-wheelers. When talking to people that were involved in the accident or who witnessed the horrifying events of that day, accounts vary. Some say that visibility plummeted to zero so quickly that they didn't realize what was happening. Others say many were driving too fast. Whatever the reason, the accident will not be soon forgotten.

The people of northern Arizona are truly amazing. Even though the accident happened nearly 30 miles away, Williams' agencies were affected. The Williams Volunteer Fire Department responded. The folks at Williams Health Care Center prepared for an unknown number of unexpected patients when Flagstaff Medical Center's emergency room soon became overcrowded. Countless, unknown others went above and beyond what was expected of them that day. The accident has been labeled as one of the worst in Arizona's history. Those that witnessed the accident and those that responded will likely never forget what had to be a horrific sight.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Molina family as they mourn the loss of their wife and mother, Shelly. We also continue to pray and give thanks for the emergency response teams that were at the scene of the accident. We are truly thankful for all that you do each and every day.

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