Arizona Couple Survives 80-foot, Down Hill Roll in Jeep Wrangler

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JL Wrangler wreck in Arizona

Seeing is believing when it comes to the Wrangler’s safety capabilities.

If you own a Wrangler or any Rubicon trim Jeep, you are probably serious about taking it off-road. Seeing as this is what these vehicles were intended for, we couldn’t agree more. However, especially when off-road or on rugged terrain at night, there comes some inherent risks. One second of distraction can lead to devastating consequences.

As reported by AZFamily, an Arizona couple learned this lesson the hard way earlier this week, when their JL Wrangler fell and tumbled down a hillside, dropping over 80 feet in the process.

JL Wrangler

Shanelle Bates and Matthew Kunowski were enjoying a pleasant long weekend in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona where they had rented a cabin. However, when going out for some shopping later at night in their lifted Wrangler, Shanelle stated that her husband looked away for just a moment during the ride down Forest Service Road 512. The next moment they were off the road and down the cliff.

Rendered unconscious by the accident, Shanelle didn’t at first realized her husband had been ejected from the vehicle she still resided in. After finding her husband outside the vehicle, she realized he had been injured far worse than her. The couple, stranded in the middle of the forest without cell phone reception, walked for over two hours before finding help. Both her and her husband were airlifted to the hospital.

JL Wrangler wreck survivor in Arizona

While Shanelle recovered quickly, Matthew will require more time in the hospital due to the greater severity of his injuries. A GoFundMe page has been started for the couple to help with their medical bills.

While it is a spectacular feat that the couple managed to survive this horrible crash and situation, the JL Wrangler’s safety rating is debatable to say the least. Recently, safety testing for the Wrangler was done in Europe and Australia, both giving the Wrangler a sub-par score in almost every single safety standard except for side impact crashes. Even the safety rating for rollover crashes (such as the one seen in this story) was considered sub-optimal.

While the car has not been tested in the U.S. and while Jeep has no obligation to do so anytime soon, we are slightly skeptical of our international counterparts safety ratings. We suggest to take them with more than a couple of grains of salt. If this story demonstrates anything, it’s that these JL Wranglers are built to a high standard without a doubt. It saved the lives of this Arizona couple and we wish them swift and successful recoveries.

Photos: AZFamily 

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Daud Gonzalez is a lifelong car enthusiast, and automotive writer with a specialty in modified and race-ready rides. Gonzalez is a regular contributor to the Internet Brands Auto Group websites, including Corvette Forum, 6SpeedOnline, and Honda-tech, among others.

He spends most of his time modifying his cars, and ruining them in the process. He is the owner of a track build BMW 335i, a semi-off road spec 1981 Toyota Hilux, a drift-ready 1990 Nissan 240sx and a 1990 BMW K75 motorcycle.

Most of his free-time is dedicated to making sure his vehicles survive to see the next day. You are likely to catch him at one of Southern California's race tracks on the weekends.

Daud can be reached at [email protected]

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