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GILBERT, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities have released the names of two men killed after a two-vehicle collision at a Gilbert intersection.
Gilbert police say the victims are 22-year-old Dakota Fernandez and 34-year-old Justin Tharp.
The collision occurred about 3:15 a.m. Wednesday at the intersection of McQueen and Elliot roads.
Police say it appears one of the drivers ran a red light and slammed into the other vehicle.
Police say Fernandez and Tharp were the sole occupants of their vehicles.
The crash also knocked over a traffic-light pole and police investigators closed the intersection for several hours.
Two people were killed Wednesday morning in a two-vehicle crash in Gilbert.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Spirits were high at New Mexico's ski resorts after a weekend storm brought more than two feet of snow to some spots, and crews were taking advantage of freezing temperatures as they cranked up their snow-making machines.
A Tempe man has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges stemming the death of a Chandler police officer.
It has been a somber two weeks for the members of the Chandler Police Department after losing two of their brothers in a four-day span.
When my wife and I carried our newborn child through the sliding glass doors of the maternity unit, we were not given an instructional manual. No type of handbook accompanied the second or the third child either. Like all parents, we were directed to the exit sign clutching our new wrapped-in-blue bundle, with little more than a slap on the rear end, like a coach sending in his second-string substitutions. We were those kids with plenty of eagerness to play the game, but not a lot of knowledge about the playbook. We simply were not prepared for or coached up on every possible situation that would arise in our family-building career.
Arizona is deciding a full slate of statewide, congressional and local races, many of which were highly competitive heading in to the final hours of the campaign. The closeness of the contests has been reflected in the bombardment of attack ads over the final weeks as Democratic, Republican and special interest groups have spent large amounts of money in Arizona. Here is a look at the ticket, and what's at stake:
CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) — The Chandler community is holding fundraisers to help the families of two police officers who both died in motorcycle crashes just three days apart.
Which Wich sandwich shop will donate 30 percent of the day's proceeds Tuesday from its Chandler and Gilbert locations to benefit the families of Bryant Holmes and David Payne.
Chandler police officers will work as servers Wednesday at Famous Dave's restaurants in Chandler and Gilbert. Their tips will be divided between the families.
Chandler Police Department was rocked this week by the double loss.
Authorities say the 34-year-old Holmes died Oct. 28 after an SUV running a red light struck his motorcycle. Payne was stopped at an intersection while on his motorcycle early Friday when a vehicle fatally struck him from behind.
CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) — A police officer was fatally injured Friday when he was hit by a suspected drunken driver, becoming the second officer from the Chandler Police Department to be killed in motorcycle crashes this week.
Officer David Payne, 37, was stopped at a red light about 1 a.m. when a vehicle struck his motorcycle from behind, police said. The impact threw Payne's motorcycle through the intersection.
The other driver drove away, but officers stopped him a short time later and took him into custody, police said. The driver had an 11-month-old baby with him, police said.
Payne's death followed the death of another Chandler officer Tuesday. Officer Bryant Holmes, 34, was riding his motorcycle to work when he was struck by an SUV that ran a red light, authorities said. The 20-year-old driver stopped.
"It's been a very difficult week for the department," Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan said. "We have lost two exceptional and talented officers in a matter of three days."
Police said the suspect in Friday's crash that killed Payne was believed to be impaired by alcohol and driving on a suspended license.
"This is not an accident," said Sgt. Joe Favazzo, a police spokesman. "This is a crash ... It was 100 percent avoidable."
Brian Yazzie, 31, of Tempe, was arrested and jailed on suspicion of manslaughter, endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.
A Chandler police spokesman, Detective Seth Tyler, said he didn't know whether Yazzie has an attorney yet.
Payne was a seven-year veteran of the Chandler department and a member of its drunken-driving enforcement unit. "His passion was to remove impaired drivers from the roadways," Duggan said.
Payne was also a member of the Arizona Army National Guard, and he served in Iraq in 2007-2008.
A Chandler police officer was killed in a crash in Chandler on Friday morning.
Funeral services for a Chandler police officer killed in a wreck while driving to work have been scheduled for this weekend.
CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) — A Chandler police office is dead following an early morning accident.
A Chandler police officer on his way to work Tuesday was struck and killed by an SUV that ran a red light, according to preliminary information gathered by Gilbert Police Department.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The number of people who died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border has dropped to the lowest level in 15 years as more immigrants turned themselves in to authorities in Texas and fewer took their chances with the dangerous trek across the Arizona desert.
The U.S. government recorded 307 deaths in the 2014 fiscal year that ended in September — the lowest number since 1999. In 2013, the number of deaths was 445.
The Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector finished the 2014 budget year with 115 deaths, compared with 107 in the Tucson sector, according to figures obtained by The Associated Press. It marks the first time since 2001 that Arizona has not been the deadliest place to cross the border.
Arizona has long been the most dangerous border region because of triple-digit temperatures, rough desert terrain and the sheer volume of immigrants coming in to the state from Mexico. But more immigrants are now entering through Texas and not Arizona, driven by a surge of people from Central America.
The Tucson and Rio Grande Valley both saw their numbers of deaths decline from 2013, although Arizona's drop was more precipitous.
Border enforcement officials say the lower numbers are in part due to increased rescue efforts as well as a Spanish-language media campaign discouraging Latin Americans from walking across the border.
Tucson Sector Division Chief Raleigh Leonard says the addition of 10 new rescue beacons that were strategically placed in areas where immigrants traverse most often has been a factor in the decrease in deaths.
"I think we can all agree that crossing the border is an illegal act, but nothing that should be assigned the penalty of death," Leonard said in an interview.
Immigrant rights advocates are skeptical that it is solely the Border Patrol's efforts contributing to the decrease in deaths.
"At best, what the Border Patrol is accomplishing is a geographical shift in where these deaths are happening — rather than adequately responding to the scale of the crisis," said Geoffrey Boyce, a border enforcement and immigration researcher at the University of Arizona and a volunteer with the Tucson-based nonprofit No More Deaths.
The Rio Grande Valley sector was flooded with a surge in unaccompanied minors and families with children who turned themselves in at border crossings in Texas. Most were from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where gang violence and a poor economy have driven out huge numbers of people. That surge has dwindled recently, however, as U.S. and Central American authorities have launched a public relations campaign warning parents against sending their children to the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Tucson Sector, once the busiest in the nation, has seen a steep decline in border crossers. Fewer Mexicans are crossing into the U.S. as the economy here has faltered and drug violence at home has improved.
The Border Patrol also responds to hundreds of cases each year of immigrants who need to be rescued while crossing the desert, long an issue in the Arizona desert. The Border Patrol conducted 509 rescues in the 2014 fiscal year in the Tucson sector, compared to 802 in 2013.
Some of the rescues are made with the help of beacons that were activated 142 times this year. The beacons are 30-feet tall, solar-powered and have sun reflectors and blue lights on top that are visible for 10 miles. The beacons also have signs in three languages directing users to push a red button that sends out a signal for help. Agents respond usually within 10 minutes to an hour.
The agency has a team dedicated solely to rescues, called Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue.
Agents in this elite group spend their days searching for immigrants and responding when one seeks help. They assist not only those who cross the border in search for jobs, but also drug mules and smugglers who become injured or dehydrated in the summer heat.
It was only 10 a.m. and already 95 degrees on a day in late June when the unit's agents provided medical assistance to a 28-year-old man suspected of smuggling drugs near Sells, Arizona.
The thin man had an ID from El Salvador and said he lived in Tucson. He oscillated between Spanish and English, but his message was the same: He was in extreme pain.
The agents gave him a gallon of a sports beverage. He was to drink it slowly, they told him, or else it would make him sick. Next, they connected a saline bag intravenously and checked his vitals.
The agents monitored him and re-examined his vitals, concluding that he wasn't dehydrated but suffering from muscle fatigue. Minutes later, agents who used a drug-sniffing K-9 to search the area found several bundles of marijuana and another suspected smuggler.
The men were arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally, but were not charged with smuggling because the loads of marijuana were not found on them.
"To us, it could be a mule, an illegal immigrant. They're all the same. They're human beings," Leonard said.
Craft beer fans in the East Valley will have another option to taste a wide variety of brews with the grand opening of a new brewery this fall.
Mesa police say they have arrested a man in connection with a fire that left dozens of people displaced from their homes early Monday morning.
PHOENIX -- Fred DuVal drove for several months earlier this year while his Arizona driver's license was suspended.
But a top aide said DuVal was not aware it had been yanked.
Rodd McLeod said DuVal had been captured last December on a photo radar camera, making a right turn without fully stopping for the red light. He said DuVal paid the $270.45 for the ticket and thought that was the end of it.
But in Arizona, red-light violations also require a motorist to attend traffic school. And McLeod said it wasn't until DuVal got a letter months later informing him that his failure to go to that class resulted in his license being suspended.
McLeod said DuVal completed the two-day course in August and, based on a call to someone at the Motor Vehicle Division, thought that was the end of it. But McLeod said there continued to be "chit-chat'' from people who said that MVD records showed he still didn't have a license.
So earlier this month, while in Tucson for an interview, DuVal went to a MVD office where he was informed that he had no license because he never paid the $20 reinstatement fee. Documents from MVD show DuVal filled out a form disclosing that his license was suspended and, on Oct. 3, got it reinstated.
That ticket followed a separate speeding citation in 2012.
DuVal campaign spokesman said that whatever the candidate did, it is certainly no worse than Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey who it was learned during his 2010 campaign for treasurer had amassed 13 traffic offenses over a four-year period, most of those photo-radar speeding violations.
Records from Scottsdale Magistrate Court show several entries over that period where Ducey failed to appear.
But Ducey press aide Melissa DeLaney noted that he argued to the court he never got any of the citations in the mail. She said some tickets were dismissed and he paid the fines for the others.
Vetter has refused several requests to furnish DuVal's driving record, something that the Arizona Department of Transportation legally can provide only to the person who is licensed. DeLaney said she would release Ducey's driving record for the last 39 months -- the typical MVD check -- only if DuVal would "play ball.''
Vetter also questioned whether DuVal's application for a new licensed had been "leaked'' by the Department of Transportation, part of the administration of Gov. Jan Brewer. But an ADOT spokesman said such documents are public records, though they did not immediately have information on who made the request.
Q: Why are you running?
A: I am running for office because I think we need real leadership in Congress. On issues like immigration, national security and the economy, Kyrsten Sinema and the Obama administration have failed us, and things will not change until we change the type of people we send to Washington, D.C. Kyrsten Sinema said she ran for office to change things, but during her two years in Congress, she has done nothing but support government bureaucrats and stand behind the Obama agenda. Politicians like Kyrsten Sinema have increased the national debt, grown the size of government and supported higher taxes. Arizona deserves better.
Q: Have the issues at the VA been properly addressed? What else would you like to see done to help veterans in our area?
A: Steps have been taken to help alleviate the problems, but the problem is by no means fully addressed. There are still substantial waiting lists at VA hospitals across the country, and that is unacceptable. One of the things I would like to see happen is for the government to allow veterans to seek care at non-VA hospitals and have it covered by the VA if the VA cannot accommodate their request for care in a reasonable time frame. Too many veterans are waiting too long for care, and to me this seems like the most expedient solution. I was very disappointed with the way that Kyrsten Sinema chose to address this issue. During her campaign in 2012, she readily admitted that there were problems in the VA system and promised to work on them, but instead she did nothing when she got to Washington, holding hearings and giving in to bureaucracy instead of taking action. When the truth about the extent of the problem at the VA was brought to light, I was the first to call on the VA secretary to resign and propose solutions to the problem. Meanwhile, Kyrsten Sinema just asked for hearings and studies, waiting until the higher-ups in her party took a position before following their lead.
Q: What kind of effect has the Affordable Care Act had on Arizonans?
A: The Affordable Care Act has certainly failed to live up to its name. Instead of making health care more affordable, this short-sighted law has saddled taxpayers with additional debt while making care even harder to obtain. Obamacare has led to narrow-network insurance plans that offer very few choices and poor coverage. People who liked their insurance or doctors have not been allowed to keep them, despite the platitudes of President Obama and Kyrsten Sinema, and I think that voters across the district are beginning to see that we did not get the bargain we were promised from this law.
Q: What are your thoughts on the recent ruling and impending hearing about gay marriage in Arizona? And do you support the state’s ban on it?
A: I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.
Q: What can Congress do to spur job growth in our area? What industries would you target?
A: I think the best thing that Congress can do to spur job growth is to get government red tape out of the way. Free markets are the answer, but government intervention through unnecessary bureaucracy is holding our economy back. Government should not be in the business of picking economic winners and losers.