ST. GEORGE — A veteran firefighter was killed in an off-road vehicle accident Friday during a private elk hunting trip south of the Grand Canyon and the community has responded with over $85,000 in donations to help his family.
Christopher Fitzmaurice, 45, of Cave Creek, Arizona, was driving a Polaris Ranger with a friend on Forest Road 328 about 6 miles off state Route 64 when the utility task vehicle rolled and came to rest on top of him, according to a statement issued by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Monday evening.
Fitzmaurice’s friend was unable to lift the vehicle off Fitzmaurice to free him.
The Northern Arizona Regional 911 center received a call at about 6:39 a.m. Friday from the passenger of the crashed UTV, stating his friend was pinned under the vehicle and not breathing.
Medics arrived on scene about 25 minutes after the call and were able to lift the vehicle off Fitzmaurice, but he had no pulse, officials said. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.
“Investigator’s determined from the scene and information provided by the passenger that Fitzmaurice was traveling too fast while headed into a series of turns in the road,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “Fitzmaurice’s vehicle started to slide in the first turn and then started to slide as he entered the second turn.”
The front passenger’s tire then struck a dirt berm of a water drainage alongside the roadway, officials said, causing the vehicle to roll over to the driver’s side.
Neither Fitzmaurice nor his passenger were wearing seat belts and both were ejected in the rollover, the Sheriff’s Office said, adding that Fitzmaurice suffered head trauma during the crash. His friend was reportedly uninjured.
Fitzmaurice was transported to the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office where an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.
Rangers from the National Park Service at Grand Canyon, Coconino County Sheriff’s deputies, Tusayan Fire Department and Guardian Medical responded to the scene.
Community steps up
According to a GoFundMe account created by the United Phoenix Firefighters Association, Fitzmaurice was a veteran Captain of the Phoenix Fire Department.
Fitzmaurice is survived by his wife and four young daughters.
“We ask of you to please make a generous donation to help out the family of a hero who dedicated his life to helping others in his career with the PFD,” the Captain Chris Fitzmaurice GoFundMe page reads. “We thank you in advance for anything you can do to assist with this very important cause.”
By Tuesday morning, the GoFundMe account had raised $85,741 by 863 people in three days.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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