Home » Community » Sedona Traffic Accident Closes Scenic Highway

Sedona Traffic Accident Closes Scenic Highway

sedona police logoSedona AZ (June 21, 2015) – On June 21, 2015, at 12:04 in the morning, the Sedona Police Department responded to the area of State Route 179 near the City limits after a Sedona resident called 9-1 -1 to report what may have sounded like a vehicle crash.

Sedona officers checked the area and found a large commercial cargo truck off the roadway, south of the Little Horse Trailhead on northbound SR 179. The truck was lying on its side at the bottom of a culvert.

Sedona Police Officers discovered the driver of the truck pinned inside its crushed cab. The Sedona Fire District responded to the scene and extricated the driver. He did not appear to be seriously injured, but was transported to Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood and treated for a broken left arm.

The truck driver would not provide officers with any information about why or how the collision occurred, and he appeared to be under the influence. He was arrested and transported to the jail holding facility at the Sedona Police Department.

Although a search warrant for the driver’s blood was obtained, he refused to comply. The driver, Akeem Jamal Best, 28, a resident of San Antonio, Texas, was eventually charged with various misdemeanor offenses, including Driving Under the Influence to the Slightest Degree and Reckless Driving. He was later transported to the Yavapai County Jail in Camp Verde, Arizona.

During the investigation of the collision, extrication of the driver and removal of the cargo truck from the culvert, it was necessary to close northbound travel into Sedona city limits on SR 179.

When the SedonaEye.com reporter arrived on the scene at 5:30 a.m., both SR 179 northbound and southbound lanes were closed. Northbound travel was stopped south of the Bell Rock parking area in the Village of Oak Creek. ADOT had been redirecting northbound traffic to the Village, and southbound to the City limits.

Among early morning travelers impacted by the northbound delay were VOC residents James Barr, Brent Maupin and David Groff. The three chose the detour route of Beaver Head Flats to Cornville’s Page Springs Road to access SR 89A and the Sedona city limits, an approximate 40 minute delay to reach the West Clear Creek parking area in Oak Creek Canyon for a scheduled day hike.

At about 8:15 a.m., a travel lane was established through the collision scene to allow for travel on SR 179.

The SR 179 roadway will remain subject to periodic closure this morning to facilitate the removal of debris and cargo at the scene.

Personnel from Sedona PD and the Arizona Department of Transportation will remain on site to facilitate the safe travel of northbound traffic.

The Sedona Police Department appreciates the patience and understanding of all motorists and bicyclists traveling on SR 179 this morning.

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Read www.SedonaEye.com for daily news and interactive views!


  1. Emily Neves says:

    We were headed to Sedona to Slide Rock and saw this traffic problem after searching the web. I had to come down I17 not 89A because of dropping off something to a friend near Munds Park. Thanks for saving us hours if we got stuck in the Village! We were going to pick up a friend in the Chapel area but she said don’t bother and come late. We did. Had a nicer day because of it. BTW (deleted by editor) lives at (deleted by editor) and they read you because you reported the first traffic accident and now this one. It was fun reading the story about OCC closing five years ago. Thanks for the history lesson. Do more stories on Flag too!

    Emmy Neves, Flagstaff

  2. The Arizona Department of Transportation will perform routine pavement maintenance on Interstate 17 between New River and the Bloody Basin traffic interchange (mileposts 235 to 258) tomorrow, Tuesday, June 23 between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

    Motorists should be prepared for alternating lane restrictions and intermittent shoulder closures between mileposts 235 and 258 to provide a safe work zone for maintenance crews. Minimal delays are expected.

    The speed limit through the work zones will be reduced to 45 mph during work hours.

  3. Hello Sedona citizens,

    I was reading that your city officials were advocating for an additional road to be built in case of an accident like this happens again. My opinion is that is wrongful thinking. Traffic patterns on 179 are about as slow as one can find nationally, 89A included. Personally we like it that way as it preserves the beauty of the scenic approach. One cannot build for every intoxicated driver mistake or suicidal person and one cannot reclaim lost rocks to highway construction. Considering Sedona traffic and considering how miniscule is the need to deal with a traffic issue resulting from fatal accidents or drivers on narcotics or alcohol, like this, ever, is inconsequential statistically and logically, it fails all litmus tests for even discussion.

    A freedom of information request for ADOTs traffic numbers and statistics will show who and what are pushing that agenda from your city, county and state. Residents in communities wanting to beget car parks better shout now or put up with it later. Back O’Beyond and others had likely start enjoying the sounds of traffic and look downs on autos, a serene landscape will be destroyed.

    My appreciation for printing this!

  4. Hi All….

    Don’t like the traffic on 179, you have yourself and your neighbors to thank who voted down the 4 lane road only a few years ago.

  5. Maintenance work will resume at the McGuireville rest area on Interstate 17 this week, Tuesday and Wednesday, June 23 and 24, approximately two miles south of the State Route 179 junction (mileposts 294 to 299).

    Drivers can expect a single lane restriction in both directions during work hours from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Minimal delays expected.

    The rest areas will remain open.

    For more information about this project, call 928-606-2420.

  6. Having had the opportunity to sit in on an interview with ADOT engineers during the discussions of the SR179 road design, they conclusively agreed that a four lane freeway would have the same result at the “Y” as the split two-lane. The point being: SR179 dead-ends when it intersects with 89A – no dispute.

    Several alternate SR179 routes were considered during that very lengthy study which would have eliminated the existing 179 as a State Route. However, because of USFS land holdings and other factors, the present design was selected.

    The SR179 public meetings were extensive; however, at every meeting I attended the ADOT engineers were emphatic: They would retain final jurisdiction with regards to engineering safety factors.

    It’s unfortunate the city, after having accepted the less than one mile of the State Route in uptown, didn’t have the same high standards for engineering safety and traffic movement and perhaps the opportunity for parked cars to back out without stopping traffic could have been avoided. Maybe that’s one reason ADOT was so rigid on their insistence for engineering safety.

    So those who continue to dream about the four-lane freeway as having been the saving grace to Sedona traffic problems, think again. Instead of two lanes backed up envision four.

  7. Matt says:

    LTR – you are spot on… But the “4 lane” naysayers seem to have fallen off the planet now that the “new and improved” roundabout laden, 179 has proven to be inadequate and unsafe. Perhaps there would have been a westerly backlog at the “Y,” but heading out 179 to I-17 would have been smooth sailing!!!

  8. Bill, Sedona says:

    idiots !!!! nobody’s complaining about traffic except when they’re stuck in it because nobody cares until they are !!! i know when it’s busy, when it’s not, i LIVE HERE !! i go early, go mid afternoon, or after dark. it’s not rocket science !!! handle it. a handful of accidents in a half dozen years ????? poor babies. listen to the radio. talk on the phone. but handle it. i lived in phoenix. the interstate is a crawl EVERY day during rush hour. the loops the same. can you shut up about building roads now. you can build roads six lanes wide like phoenix & it won’t matter when there’s a accident. handle it! idiots

  9. Richard W. says:

    And what would we do without the arm-chair engineers who know more than God? Every day more of them pop up here.

    The really blessed folks were the original Voice of Choice organizers that methodically and with reason worked with ADOT and the community to produce the designated Scenic Route we have today. Ever compare the drive from VOC to Sedona to the one going west from the Y through West Sedona. Which is more soothing and relaxing, even when traffic on 179 is heavy. A case in point of what some of these experts suggest would have been better on SR179?

    And BTW, as the article reports this accident occurred at 12:00 AM. The guy was impaired. How would a super-highway have prevented that?

    Then the mess uptown. Little wonder the troops rallied and overwhelmingly supported both Referendum & Initiative to prevent the rest of 89A from falling into the mismanagement of Sedona City government.

  10. I am ashamed of many in Sedona these days. It’s like everybody is trying to butcher her.

    Four lane highway? What is wrong with you people? How about it development guys, you want a four laner? Your city councilors, your county representatives, how about a roll call? What part of Sedona do you want to blast to level it for a super road?

    What part of the cash cow have you left to destroy?

    Sedona is a scenic area. It is mountains, the high desert. People don’t travel there for the food and nightlife or art and shopping, they come there for the red rocks and skies wanting simple pleasures of hiking and sleeping cheap or some wanting luxury resort while mesmerized by night skies. Daytrippers want the pleasure of bold color surrounding them on every side, a few elite shops and galleries, and those that remain for a few days want a respite, an escape, a chance to reconnect with something still beautiful, not homogenized, not of that they left.

    If you cannot remember that, you need to move away and let people like me move in. You failed the Sedona litmus test for residency.

    Go Travel. Travel to Aspen, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Cape Cod, Hawaii, Savannah, Key West, Tahoe, Seattle, Portland, redwood forests, Washington DC, Michigan peninsula, Yosemite, Galveston, NYC, Denver, Ozarks, Boston, Cape May, Newport, and other places that don’t give a rats ass about moving people through, places that force you to remember it’s about the journey and the view and the memories one will keep forever.

    When you have recovered your soul, return to Sedona and look with regret on the destruction you left behind that can never be rebuilt or replaced.

    (Am an avid reader and southwest lover. Keen articles!)

  11. Matt, I never wanted 4 lanes and I don’t bitch if I have to sit in 5 minutes of traffic. At 70 years of age, I’m never in a rush. I’m lucky to wake up each day, a little bit of slow moving buggies aint no bother to me or my 74 year old hubby

  12. Matt…you state “179 has proven to be inadequate and unsafe”. Please share that proof with us. I drive that road at least twice per day for the past 13 years. I have found it to be much improved over the old version. Those who wanted 4 lanes never had a realistic vision of what would happen when the 4 lanes dropped to one each direction when the bridge at Tlaquepaque would be reached. Smooth sailing southbound to I17 is also a fantasy. A 4 lane road would have required more traffic lights than existed before the roundabouts.

  13. Andrea says:

    I would love to see a moratorium on any and all construction for a year—unless, of course, it’s an emergency like a sinkhole or a building is threatening to collapse.. All this tinkering and tweaking in the name of “improvement” is deluded. I know, it’s radical, but try to imagine it. And then when the year is up, there is a healthy list of improvements that could be made, and not so much busyness under the guise of the City being “productive.”
    With all due respect to everyone, and it’s just my opinion.

  14. Josh you make very good points.

  15. Confused says:

    Long Time Resident says: “Don’t like the traffic on 179, you have yourself and your neighbors to thank who voted down the 4 lane road only a few years ago. “(6/22, 1:07 PM)

    Then Long Time Resident says: “Matt, I never wanted 4 lanes and I don’t bitch if I have to sit in 5 minutes of traffic.” (6/22, 8:42 PM)

    How can you have it both ways?

  16. For Confused, perhaps I should type like I expected a 12 year old to read it; IF YOU Don’t like traffic on 178, you have yourself…….

    Did that clear it up for you “confused”?

  17. Melly says:

    Looks to me like most all of you would just rather close the gates and enjoy that you were the last in!

    @Josh Violette really enjoy your take and understanding and the sense you make! And your question is right on.
    @Andrea – ” a moratorium” – really? How about the city stops throwing money out the door to any and every “grabber of funds” and commits to spending all it’s money to meet the requirements to make this city viable? Didn’t some mention Health, Safety and Welfare?

    FYI: Sedona has always been a town of 3 roads in and 3 roads out. All of you knew this when you moved here so why are you complaining now?

  18. Confused says:

    Sorry, Long Time Resident, but this alleged 12 year old remains clueless. “Traffic on 178?” Could it be your two-year old behavior that’s taken control and caused a minor tantrum here? Hopefully you maintain a better grasp on reality when you’re behind a wheel. Scary!

  19. Andrea says:

    @SeanAstin I love you.

  20. E. Maddock says:

    @Andrea – Keep the Faith.:-) You’re where it’s at IMO.

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