WICKENBURG, AZ – Authorities say a man died after his vehicle was swept down a wash near Wickenburg on Saturday night.
According to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, 65-year-old Richard Leonard Evans was traveling home just after 6 p.m. when he tried to drive his SUV through a wash crossing Red Hill Road.
“We saw him come down the road, there was a river flowing really high in the wash. We told him not to go through it but he told us it wasn’t that bad,” said neighbor Guy Rodmonich.
The roadway was flooded and he was swept away. Evans was just a few feet from his driveway.
Rescuers reached Evans and transported him to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“We saw him trying to steer the SUV. He was hitting every tree in his path. We tried to rescue him but there was nothing we could do,” said Brandon Pruitt who watched the scene unfold.
MCSO spokesman Chris Hegstrom said Evans’ vehicle was nose down in the dirt and there was water in the vehicle when he was found.
“The roads are treacherous,” Hegstrom said. “Can’t stress enough that if you see water on the roadway flowing at any speed you don’t know how deep it is. You need to avoid the area, it’s not safe.”
Hegstrom said deputies helped with a number of water rescues in the area, including one with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office in which the MCSO helicopter was used.