MORRISTOWN, AZ – Family and friends are confirming the names of four of the five people killed in a fiery wrong-way crash late Friday, April 2, 2021. DPS says 37-year-old Michael Glen Sytsma was driving eastbound in the westbound lanes of the U.S. 60 when he slammed into an SUV near Morristown, killing all four people inside. Morristown is about an hour northwest of Phoenix along U.S. 60.
Sytsma also died in the wreck. Investigators say he was driving without headlights and toxicology tests will determine if he was impaired. DPS says due to the fire, they are unable to identify the four victims in the SUV right now, but families tell Arizona’s Family the lives lost were their loved ones.
“We came across the scene and that’s how we found out,” says Liz Mulverhill. Mulverhill went looking for her relatives when she didn’t get a call saying they were back home in Kingman. She hit the road and found the wreck. “When we pulled over several deputies came to us and they’re like you can’t be here,” says Mulverhill. “They asked who the vehicle belonged to, I told them, and I seen it all on their faces.”
Mulverhill says just hours earlier, she was sitting down to Easter dinner with her mom Shirley House and her stepson Bryson Rhodes. Rhodes was only 17 years old. His grandmother Nedra Barton says he had recently recovered from spine surgery and was excited to get back to school. “He could see his life change,” says Barton. “If you met him you would have been amazed at the young man he was.” Mulverhill says her niece Jessica Harris had arrived with her friend and coworker Akayla Cuthbertson to pick up Rhodes and House and head back to Kingman on Friday night. They never made it back home.
“We’re going to have moments for the rest of our lives remembering them,” says Mulverhill as she holds back tears. She says House “loved all her grandchildren”, and Harris enjoyed helping people. Peggy Dorris saw her 23-year-old daughter Cuthbertson for the final time on Friday night. “Last time we saw her she was out the door smiling. She said, ‘I love you and we’ll be back at 1 o’clock tonight and we’ll be here Sunday,'” Dorris recalled as her daughter Cuthbertson walked out the door. She can’t believe her daughter is gone. “We just got notified today that they identified her through her dental records,” Dorris said.
The pain is overwhelming for Cuthbertson’s husband, Jason. “I miss Akayla so much and I hope I see her again in my dreams,” he said. Dorris said Akayla had worked at Mohave Mental Health Clinic for two years and was in school to become a certified therapist. She and Harris had plans with another coworker to open up their own mental health facility. Now, Dorris said her family will work to open that facility in Akayla and Harris’ honor. “She was my purpose, she was my life,” Dorris said. “I love her and I want her here, but I know she’s with God and she’s at peace.”
Gina Manross worked with Harris and Cuthbertson at Mohave Mental Health. She has launched fundraisers to assist their families with expenses. “Beautiful souls gone too early,” says Mulverhill. Loved ones have set up Go Fund Me links for two of the victims to help with funeral expenses.
We offer our condolences to the family and friends of the victims of this crash.
Source: 3TV/CBS 5