Tags Articles tagged with "fatality"


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The investigation is still ongoing in a fatal, two-vehicle collision involving a wrong-way driver that occurred on State Route 347 near Casa Blanca Road around midnight.

According to Arizona Department of Public Safety, the wrong-way driver was traveling north in the southbound lanes when he impacted another vehicle head-on. The driver was taken to a local hospital where he is currently being treated for serious injuries.

The other driver was pronounced deceased at the hospital.

“AZDPS detectives are leading the investigation and believe impairment is a factor,” said DPS spokesman Bart Graves. “We’ll put out a general update once we hear back from the investigators.”


The victim in the fatal crash Saturday has been identified as Johnny Salsberry, who would have turned 19 on Thursday. His residence was in Maricopa, according to MPD


A 19-year-old man died in a crash on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway overnight, according to Maricopa Police Department.

Emergency personnel were called at around 2:30 a.m. Saturday on a report of a car found off the eastbound lane of MCG Highway. The witnesses said the driver was not responsive and had severe injuries.

The driver was confirmed deceased at the scene. Police have not yet released the name of the driver.

The cause of the crash is not known. MPD is waiting for a determination if impairment was a factor.

Veterans and friends of Alex Beckley gathered to work at his home Saturday, two weeks after his death. Photos by Raquel Hendrickson

When Alex Beckley was killed in a single-vehicle crash on State Route 347 on May 31, he left behind a hole in the hearts of those who loved him.

Brenda Severs, also injured in the incident, was left to pull together the pieces. Uncertain what to do with the home they shared in the Lakes subdivision, she also saw a problem that added to her burden.

Alex had left behind a large hole in the backyard.

Severs said they had been planning to put in a pond as Alex settled into his new job at Compass Airlines, where he worked as a storage and material clerk under Bryan Moore. The freshly minted commander of American Legion Post 133, Moore rallied his fellow veterans and area businesses to lend a hand and get the yard back in shape.

Wildcat Landscaping of Maricopa donated the landscaping rock. Plants were donated by Leaf & Feather south of Maricopa. Pots and potting soil were donated by Home Depot in Chandler.

Moore put the word out to the American Legion and posted on the Maricopa Veterans Facebook page seeking volunteers, and more than a dozen veterans along with Compass employees and Rent-A-Vet showed up Saturday morning to shovel and rake.

Maricopa Veterans is a closed group on Facebook that was founded in 2018 with the intent of helping others, and it has grown to about 340 members.

“We’re really expanding. We’re really growing and we’re trying to do a lot of things,” Moore said.

They have helped an older veteran pack up and move to Washington. They have helped shape up the front yard of a Maricopa dad battling cancer. They have helped others move furniture.

The group’s motto is Semper Simul (Always Family). It is veterans helping veterans and the community at large. The group’s description states, “We are committed to continuing the spirit of service that was engrained in us from our time in the service.” Members must affirm they are veterans by answering membership questions before they are allowed into the group.

“When we have a veteran that’s in need, we jump in,” Moore said. “And that extends to their family.”

Investigators believe a blown tire caused the accident that took Beckley’s life.

Severs said she had been with Beckley six years, since they worked together at a JC Penney home store. Losing him has left her in a quandary over whether to stay or move.

“We’re still debating. We don’t know,” she said. “It’s hard because my two daughters, one is in Florida and one is in Vegas. So, then my work is in Ahwatukee, and driving back and forth, I’m a little bit skeptical about driving so far.”

With so much in her life up in the air, she’s found a rock of support among the veterans.

“Alex is no longer with us,” Moore said, “so now we’re going to try to take care of his family. That’s what we’re doing.”



Photo by Jim Headley

A violent traffic crash on White and Parker Road has reportedly killed two people south of Maricopa.

The incident, being investigated by Ak-Chin first responders with support from Pinal County Sheriff’s deputies, has closed the road from Peters and Nall Road to Louis Johnson Road.

Two lifeline helicopters were also deployed to the scene.

The crash is being described as a single-vehicle rollover of an extended-cab pickup. Two people are reported deceased and two others injured. Names have not been publicly released. Learn more


Photo by Madison Morrison

The Department of Public Safety released the identity of the ATV driver who died in a collision on State Route 347 south of Maricopa yesterday.

Joshua G. Dearo-Garcia, 24, of Maricopa was found deceased on scene by police Feb. 14 at 12:35 p.m., said DPS spokesman Bart Graves.

DPS said Dearo-Garcia was driving a Honda quad that failed to stop at a stop sign while attempting to make a right turn onto SR 347 near SR 84.

“The ATV collided with the rear side of a Ford heavy-duty pickup truck,” Graves said.

The collision closed a portion of SR 347 for hours after emergency crews and police processed the scene.

Graves said the driver of the truck was not injured.

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Photo by Madison Morrison

An accident south of Maricopa involving an ATV and a pickup truck has left one person dead.

The collision occurred Wednesday at 12:35 p.m. on northbound State Route 347 near State Route 84 – about 13 miles south of Maricopa, said Department of Safety Spokesman Bart Graves.

The fatal collision allegedly occurred after a male driver of an ATV struck the Ford pickup truck.

“There was a secondary minor injury collision at that same location,” Graves said.

A portion of SR 347 is closed in both directions while emergency crews work the scene.

This is a developing story.


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Sisters Shell Abbott (left) and Eliah Abbott hold a photo of their brother Josiah Abbott, who died in 2014. Photo by Michelle Chance

It was a one-vehicle crash that took the lives of two teenagers Christmas night nearly three years ago.

Josiah Abbott, 15-years-old, and Morgan Martin, 14, were passengers inside a friend’s truck that rolled on Papago Road in Thunderbird Farms.

In early May, the driver of the vehicle pleaded guilty to two counts of negligent homicide. William Gay, 25, was sentenced to 2.5 years in the Department of Corrections for each count when he appeared in a Pinal County Superior courtroom on June 12.

According to the plea agreement supplied by the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, the two imprisonment terms will “run concurrently with each other.”

Josiah Abbott and Morgan Martin were victims of negligent homicide on Christmas night 2014. Submitted photos

Josiah’s older sister, Shell Abbott, said no amount of prison time would heal the pain caused by her brother’s death.

“The whole family had pretty much come to a consensus that some time or no time wouldn’t change the outcome of our hearts and how much we miss him and how much we think of Morgan,” Abbott said. “It wasn’t going to change that.”

Abbott said Josiah was charismatic and enjoyed making the women and girls in his life know they matter.

“Josiah had a way about making women feel special, and you could be 92 or you could be 3,” she said.

 The loss of Josiah and the emotional support he provided, she said, is comparable to the sensation of a phantom limb that has been amputated.

“You know it doesn’t exist, but in your brain it really does. You can still move it, but you can’t put weight on it because it’s not there,” Shell said.

William “Bubba” Gay. PCSO photo

Abbott said she is reminded every day she cannot lean on her brother. His young life was taken along with another’s from an accident caused by Gay — a friend of the family whom they refer to as “Bubba.”

“I think that’s the hardest part because Bubba will be able to get back out, and for him he’s not missing a limb,” Shell said.

Gay was a roommate in Abbott’s home at the time of Josiah and Morgan’s death. Abbott said she felt Gay did not take responsibility for the families’ losses. Additionally, she said Gay did not apologize to her. After a while, because of Gay’s behavior, she told him he needed to leave.

“Even through everything that Bubba’s done, we don’t hate him,” she said. “There is hurt, but I also understand that Bubba, whether he addresses it or not, is also hurting because Josiah was his friend – a very close friend.”

Gay taught Josiah about cars, Abbott said, and because Gay had a driver’s license and Josiah did not, the friends drove around together frequently.

Shell Abbott said her mother, Ranelle Abbott, requested in court that Gay receive counseling.

“I think that’s the only reason why him being in prison is actually a good thing,  … the fact that it will give him a lot of time to think,” Shell Abbott said.

Josiah Abbott romping with dog Filly. Photo by Rahannah Abbott

Even as a young child, Josiah was bright and had entrepreneurial tendencies, she said. At 4 years old, he began a small frog farm. In buckets, he placed tadpoles at varying points in development. By age 9, Josiah switched from frogs to chickens, and he made business cards to promote the eggs he sold.

Josiah would be 18-years-old now, and Shell Abbott said it saddens her to think of what he could have accomplished.

“There was no doubt in my mind that when he grew up he was going to own his own business and he was going to be able to do the job, whatever it was,” Abbott said. “Because of his charisma with people, there wasn’t a thing that he wouldn’t have been able to do in his life.”

The last Abbott family photo that included Josiah (top). Submitted photo

Photo by Michelle Chance

The bicyclist killed after being struck by a vehicle on State Route 238 last week has been identified as Richard L. Vaughn.

According to Maricopa Police Department, Vaughn was riding his bike east along the roadway near Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, where he was employed, at around 4:30 a.m. Thursday. A vehicle also heading east collided with Vaughn, 47. The driver called 911 to report the incident.

MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said the driver was questioned and a blood sample sent to the lab to determine if he was under the influence. There has been no report of results.

ADOT workers block SR 238 from eastbound traffic after a fatal crash Thursday morning. Photo by Michelle Chance

An accident between a vehicle and a bicycle has left one person dead this morning.

The incident occurred around 4:30 a.m. on State Route 238 about a mile west of SR 347 at Green Road near Ak-Chin Southern Dunes.

According to Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado, a 47-year-old man was dead at the scene. The driver of the vehicle had called emergency services and reported striking something on the road. The driver and cyclist were both traveling west on the highway.

The driver was taken to MPD for further questioning. Alvarado said impairment has not been ruled out. A blood sample was taken and sent to the lab for analysis.

Traffic has been stopped in both directions between Edison Road (Loma) and Ralston Road. Detours have been set up. Arizona Department of Transportation is asking drivers to allow for extra time and use extra caution in the area.

MPD is still trying to notify next of kin.

ADOT is using this map to indicate continued slow traffic in the region due to a fatal crash on SR 347 today.

State Route 347 will remain closed in both directions throughout the evening following an earlier crash at Riggs Road, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Southbound lanes are closed at Interstate 10. Troopers are directing northbound traffic onto Riggs.

Delays on I-10 are extensive due to detouring traffic which stretches from Chandler  Boulevard to Casa Blanca Road. Spillover traffic is also affected the southbound lanes of neighboring SR 587 and 87

Motorists planning to travel on I-10 eastbound through the Valley should consider taking SR 85 near Buckeye to I-8 instead. I-8 reconnects to I-10 near Casa Grande.

A Maricopa man died Sunday night in a wrong-way collision on State Route 347 south of Interstate 10. The crash closed the road for eight hours.

Christopher A. Canavett, 20, of Maricopa was the only fatality in the incident, which involved four vehicles.

According to Department of Public Safety spokesman Raul Garcia, Canavett was driving south on SR 347 when he crossed over into northbound traffic. He side-swiped one vehicle and collided head-on with another. The fourth vehicle rear-ended that vehicle as well, according to the report.

Canavett died at the scene.

“One subject was admitted for observation at Chandler Regional,” Garcia said. “Three other vehicles struck debris from the four-vehicle crash.”

The person who was taken to the hospital was the driver of the third vehicle that was hit twice.

The collision occurred around 8:16 p.m. The road was re-opened at 4:13 a.m.

The crash remains under investigation.

The remains of a pickup truck are hauled away from the remains of a house after a fatal crash. PCSO photo

A truck backed into a Hidden Valley home Wednesday night, causing a fire and leaving the driver dead. Two people in the home were rescued, but the house and a nearby recreational vehicle were destroyed.

The deceased man has not yet been identified.

The residents did not recognize him or his truck and did not know why he was on the property in the 1900 block of Brower Lane.

According to Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, the pickup truck backed into the house at around 10:30 p.m.

“At this point in the investigation, it appears as though the truck backed into a corner of the house and got stuck,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said. “The truck engine raced as the rear tires spun and disintegrated. The spinning tires appear to have ignited the fire, which quickly consumed the house, truck and RV.”

The crash awoke the man and woman in the house. They found the male driver unresponsive. When the house ignited, the couple fled to the back yard, and became trapped.

A PCSO deputy and U.S. Border Patrol arrived on the scene at about the same time to find the house and truck fully engulfed in flames. They heard screaming from the back yard, where they found the residents trapped in fenced area with their two dogs.

The enclosure was six-foot wrought-iron fencing with a locked gate that the couple could not open or climb over. The border agent knocked down a section with his vehicle to free them. The two people, both 57, had only minor injuries.

“I am thankful for the quick actions of the deputy and the U.S. Border Patrol agent to get this couple and their dogs safely away from the burning house,” Babeu said.

The incident is under investigation.

The April 24 deaths of three motorists on State Route 347 remain an ongoing investigation for the Gila River Police Department.

Julio Robles Ayala, Alfredo Ayala Jr. and Debbie Howard were traveling together with two other people when the northbound vehicle they were in crossed into the path of a southbound semi-truck, apparently a dairy truck. The three died at the scene near the junction of Maricopa Road.

According to GRPD, all three victims were Native American. Officers were unwilling to provide their community of residence or other information because of the active nature of the investigation.

Their ages ranged from 24 to 29 years old, according to Sgt. Nicholas Waterloo.

The collision occurred just after 4 a.m. GRPD has not yet determined if speed or alcohol was a factor.

The two other passengers in the car and the driver of the semi truck suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were transported to a hospital.

It was the middle of a deadly week on SR 347. April 21, Justin Clark, 34, of Phoenix was killed when the car he was riding in crossed into oncoming traffic. April 26, David McBride, 59, of Tucson died after he apparently had a heart attack while driving into Maricopa. His vehicle left the road and crashed through a wall and into a private swimming pool. He later died at a hospital.

The name of the man killed in an accident at his home on Roan Road Tuesday has not been released.

The 58-year-old man was working on his truck with a friend on the property in the Thunderbird Farms area southwest of Maricopa.

“At some point while the two men were working on the truck, the truck engine started and it was in reverse,” Pinal County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mark Clark said. “The truck started to move un-piloted [and] both men tried to regain control of the truck.”

The 49-year-old friend rolled under the truck and suffered injuries to his legs, head and arms. The owner then fell under the truck, which stopped on top of him. Clark said the fatal injury was due to massive blunt force trauma.

The 49-year-old man was air-lifted to a hospital for his non-fatal injuries.

PCSO was called to the scene around 11:15 a.m. by the victim’s wife. When detectives arrived, they found him deceased.

Antoinette Sanchez has been charged with manslaughter and DUI after a crash that killed Heidi Johnson. (PCSO photo)

A Maricopa resident was killed Saturday night in a one-vehicle crash in Rancho El Dorado. The driver of the vehicle has been charged with manslaughter and driving under the influence.

According to the Maricopa Police Department, Heidi Johnson, 53, died after being partially thrown from the vehicle. The incident occurred around 9 p.m. at the intersection of Rancho El Dorado Parkway and Desert Greens Drive.

Antoinette Sanchez, 39, was driving the pickup truck north on Desert Greens, according to the report. A witness told MPD the truck did not stop at the stop sign but instead drove across the parkway and into the dirt berm that acts as a backstop for the Duke Golf Course.

According to MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado, the vehicle overturned at least once. He said Johnson was apparently not wearing a seatbelt.

Alvarado said Sanchez was wearing a seatbelt. She was taken to Chandler Regional Medical Center, where her blood-alcohol content was reportedly measured at .254.

She is charged with manslaughter, driving under the influence, “super extreme” DUI (BAC above .20) and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Her bond was set at $15,000. A preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 2 in the Maricopa/Stanfield Justice Court.

Alvarado said it was the second fatality in two days in which the deceased was not wearing a seatbelt, following the death of high school student Nathan Ford. “Although we don’t know that it would have been a factor in either case, we want to remind people that seatbelts save lives,” he said.