Cornville AZ (May 18, 2014) – PRELIMINARY INFORMATION – Just before 12:30 PM on May 17, 2014, YCSO deputies were dispatched to a traffic accident involving a vehicle and 3 bicyclists. One of the bike riders, 48-year-old Ethelyn Hartline of Gilbert, Arizona, was airlifted to Flagstaff Medical Center in critical condition and died just before 6PM. The incident occurred on Cornville Road west of Beaverhead Flats Road. The other bike riders involved are identified 52-year-old David Waechter and his 16-year-old daughter, also from Gilbert, who were riding together on a tandem bicycle.
The accident involved a tan 2011 Chrysler Van driven by 90-year-old Nelson Shaum from Cottonwood, Arizona, travelling in a westerly direction on Cornville Road. Shaum told deputies that as he approached the two bicycles travelling west in front of him, he believed there was enough room to pass. Shaum indicated the need to remain in his lane because he saw eastbound traffic oncoming towards him. (Note – There are only two lanes of travel, one east and one west, in this area). As Shaum began to pass the bicycles, the front passenger side of his van collided with the bicycle ridden by Hartline. As a result, she was thrown from the bicycle and up into the windshield eventually landing on road side. The van then apparently ran over the bike which was dragged for some distance. Hartline was wearing a helmet.
The tandem bicycle driven by Waechter with his daughter as the second rider became involved in the collision and both were knocked off their bike and injured. Waechter told deputies he was slightly ahead of Hartline when the collision occurred and it is unclear at this time what caused Waechter and his daughter to be thrown from their bike.
An off-duty nurse in the vicinity rushed to Hartline’s aid pending arrival of EMS personnel. A YCSO deputy, already in the area on a traffic control detail, blocked traffic to create a safety zone for the injured parties. Personnel from the Verde Valley Fire District and the Lake Montezuma/Rimrock Fire District treated the injured. Hartline was then flown to Flagstaff Medical Center. Waechter and his daughter were transported to Verde Valley Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries and have since been released. Shaum was not injured.
Shaum was interviewed and examined by a Drug Recognition Expert and no signs of impairment were detected. Shaum agreed to, and submitted, a blood test for evaluation. Shaum was issued a MVD Driver reexamine notice by the investigating deputy and released pending follow-up.
The investigation is ongoing as to the causal factors in this accident.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov