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Updated Aug 15, 2013 - 12:22 pm

Magazine: Interstate 10 from Valley to Calif. is deadly stretch

PHOENIX -- Popular Mechanics magazine is out with its list of the most dangerous roads in the country and Interstate 10 between the Valley and California has been named among the most dangerous roads in America.

The stretch averages about 85 deaths per year. According to the magazine's website, the state of Arizona has about 700 road deaths each year. The small community of Quartzite is right on the border and its fire chief Kevin Hess works many of the crashes.

The Arizona Department of Transportation said its research shows 29 deaths per year on that particular stretch of road.

"People go to the Colorado River to spend the day and get tired, consume too much alcohol and get behind the wheel. Those are factors," Hess said.

Rainfall is rare in the area but when it happens it becomes another factor in the crashes.

"We have ruts in the freeway caused by big rigs and people get in those and hydroplane and lose control. It's a long lonely section of freeway where you set the cruise control, hold the steering wheel in one spot and zone out, fall asleep," Hess said.

Dealing with the high number of crashes takes a toll on first responders.

"Families are seperated, losing loved ones in crashes. It's a terrible, terrible thing. One of my least favorite things about being in the fire service is watching that happen," Hess said.

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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