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DPS helicopter pilot Matthew Uhl was killed in a head-on collision north of Wickenburg Tuesday night. (Photo courtesy Arizona Department of Public Safety)

WICKENBURG, Ariz. --A civilian pilot for the Arizona Department of Public Safety and two other people have been killed in a head-on crash on U.S. 93 about 12 miles north of Wickenburg.

DPS identified the pilot as Matthew Uhl, assigned to the DPS Central Air Rescue Unit in Phoenix.

At the time of his death, Uhl was enroute to cover a shift in Kingman as part of DPS Western Air Rescue.

Uhl has been a DPS pilot since 2006. He operated the Bell 407 Ranger Air Rescue.

DPS said Uhl was in a DPS vehicle when he was hit by a Ford Explorer traveling at a high rate of speed. The driver of the SUV and his passengers also were killed. DPS said there were no signs of impairment in either driver.

Investigators said the SUV may have been trying to pass other vehicles.

The crash closed U.S. 93 overnight.

On Feb. 20, 2010, Matt and DPS Officer/Paramedic Eric Tarr made news when they rescued 3-year-old Victoria Bensch who had been missing for nearly 15 hours after she wandered away from her Cordes Lakes Home.

"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 DPS Aviation Unit. "Matt was an exemplary pilot and a terrific guy. This is a painful loss for all of us at DPS."

Uhl is survived by his wife and three children.

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