Eleven Dead Caddies and One Dead Punk

  • Jeff Ferrell


a while back i hooked up with a navajo man, maybe forty years old, shivering cold on a late-winter afternoon in Flagstaff, Arizona. He’d left the nearby Navajo Rez a couple of days before, hitchhiking down notorious Highway 89, a concussive mix of two-lane curves, gawking Grand Canyon tourists, late-for-the-weekend Lake Powell junkies jerking big ski boats along behind overpowered SUVs, and Rez residents driving old pickups back and forth to Flagstaff. As a result, Highway 89 is known for something else too: all those white roadside crosses, here marking one of the highway’s countless head-on collisions, there pinning down some deadly moment when a car cartwheeled off 89 and out into the surrounding sandstone.


Dust Bowler Rural Highway Popular Video Game Pedestrian Death Bike Messenger 
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  1. 1.
    See, for example, Andy Steiner, “Highway to Heaven,” Utne Reader, 99, May–June 2000, 28–29; Laura Trujillo, “Place of Tragedy, Place of Rest,” Arizona Republic, March 12, 2000, F1, F4.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Carl Sandburg, “Grass,” The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1969), 136.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Gary Genosko, “Dispatched,” Borderlines, 44, 1997, 13–15. See Howard Williams, “Bike Messengers Struggle for Union,” Bike Summer, 1999, 15.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Chris Ziegler, “Death in Texas,” Punk Planet, 36, March/April 2000, 68–81. Quotation p71. See Pamela Colloff, “The Outsiders,” Texas Monthly, November 1999, 118–122, 144–153, who likewise quotes a local Amarillo mother: “Teenagers here pay a lot of attention to … what kind of car you drive. If you can’t compete, you’re an outcast” (122). For more information on this case, see also Scholar

Copyright information

© Mikita Brottman 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeff Ferrell

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