On April 3, 2016, at approximately 6:30 AM, deputies were dispatched to a rollover accident on Perkinsville Road, about 13 miles east of Chino Valley, Arizona. The vehicle, a 2007 Jeep Wrangler, contained 3 occupants at the time of the accident including a 17-year male from Paulden, a 14-year-old male from Chino Valley, and the 23-year-old male driver identified as Zachary Geise from Cave Creek. Geise died as a result of his injuries. The two juveniles sustained non-life threatening injuries.
During the initial investigation, deputies learned Giese was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident while both juvenile passengers were belted when the Jeep overturned. The 17-year-old front seat passenger told deputies the group was heading out on Perkinsville Road that morning intending to camp. While travelling about 45 mph and heading down hill, Geise was using his smart phone to control the radio while driving. It was at this time the Jeep entered a violent roll. Deputies noted that Giese was approaching a marked sharp right turn in the roadway. The 17-year-old stated that Giese landed on top of him after the Jeep rolled and he, along with the rear passenger, eventually escaped by cutting out the back vinyl window. Both saw that Giese suffered significant head injuries and appeared deceased.
Attempts to contact emergency services by cell phone were difficult due to poor signal reception in the area. EMS personnel from Lifeline Ambulance service eventually arrived to treat the 2 surviving passengers and confirmed Giese had died. Both juveniles were released at the scene and returned to the custody of their respective guardians.
YCSO accident investigators arrived and remained on scene throughout the day. Preliminary indications are that a combination of distracted driving and speed contributed to the cause of the rollover. Although there was no evidence to indicate driver impairment, investigators are waiting for toxicology results from the Medical Examiner. The driver’s exact cause of death is pending Medical Examiner findings.