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2 Recent Incidents: A Rescue and an Accident

14 August 2018  
Recent Incidents Overview – Driver Rescued from Flood Waters and Cited, Motorhome vs. Church DUI arrest

On August 12, 2018, just after 12 PM, deputies were dispatched to a church parking lot located in the 20000 block of Club Lane, Cordes Lakes, Arizona, regarding a motorhome colliding with a church building. The reporting party told deputies they heard a crashing noise during the church service, and when they went outside to investigate, they found a motorhome had collided with the building - see photos. The driver, 58-year-old Stephen Merrigan from Cordes Lakes, exited the motorhome while church goers were examining the damage. It was also discovered Merrigan struck a car parked in the church lot. 

Deputies arrived and interviewed Merrigan who admitted driving his motorhome up the hill from his house and into the church parking lot, damaging a parked car and colliding with the church building while attempting a turn. Merrigan admitted drinking a 6 pack of beer about an hour or so before driving his vehicle. Deputies also obtained witness statements. 

A field sobriety test was conducted and Merrigan performed poorly while showing signs and symptoms of impairment. Blood test results are pending.  

Merrigan was booked into the Camp Verde Detention Center on a charge of Driving/ In actual physical control of a vehicle while Under the Influence. He remains in-custody. 

On August 12, 2018, around 6 PM, YCSO received reports of a vehicle stranded in a low water crossing on Prescott Street at the Aqua Fria River, Dewey, Arizona. The driver, 44-year-old Leah Given, eventually called in and told dispatchers she was able to climb to the top of the vehicle with her dog through the sunroof. She indicated the water level was continuing to rise. Deputies arrived and contacted the woman pending the arrival of rescuers. Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority (CAFMA) personnel were notified and once on scene, rescued the woman by using a bucket carrier extended from a ladder truck. The woman’s dog was already safe after swimming to the shoreline.  When the water level subsided, the vehicle was towed off the roadway by a winch. 

Given is a resident in the area and was cited for Suspended License and Reckless Driving - A person who drives a vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property. 

 As shared so many time in the past, ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown !’  You can see from the photos this woman is very fortunate that her vehicle came to rest where it did, allowing rescuers quick access. A small change in water flow/level could have resulted in tragedy due to its precarious position. 

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Dwight D'Evelyn

Dwight D'Evelyn, YCSO Media Coordinator

Website: www.ycsoaz.gov