Rescue copter pilot killed in car crash

An Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue helicopter pilot was killed in a triple-fatal traffic accident while trying to commute to cover a shift in Kingman on Tuesday.

The agency said Matthew Uhl, 46, of Chandler normally works in the Phoenix area but sometimes covers shifts in Kingman, flying missions aboard the department’s Ranger Air Rescue helicopter that is based at the Kingman Regional Medical Center.

"Matt was a true professional. He always had a great attitude and was just the kind of employee you’d want to have," said Sgt. Martyn Fink of the Department of Public Safety’s aviation unit. "Matt was an exemplary pilot and a terrific guy. This is a painful loss for all of us at DPS."

Agency spokesman Bart Graves said Uhl was driving to Kingman about 8:41 p.m. when his northbound Chevy Lumina was struck by a southbound SUV about 12 miles north of Wickenburg.

Uhl was dead at the scene, as were the driver and passenger of the 1995 Ford Explorer.

Agency officials said the Explorer was traveling at a high rate of speed and was possibly trying to pass other vehicles at the time of the collision. It did not release the names of the Explorer’s occupants.

There were no signs that either of the drivers was impaired, officials said.

Graves said Uhl had flown for the Department of Public Safety for five years.

He is survived by his wife and four children.

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