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CCSO July Fourth Holiday Activity

Sedona AZ – The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to 1239 total calls for service, including both citizen-initiated and officer-initiated events. While this number is similar to that of the previous non-holiday period, there was a significant increase in the number of activities stemming from outdoor recreation in northern Arizona.

The information below shows a comparison of some of the more common types of calls during the holiday and non-holiday time frames. Many of the disturbing the peace calls were associated with OHV/ATV traffic issues, disputes at campsites, reports of fireworks, and reports of discharged weapons:

Activity [Nature of Call for Service as dispatched]:

June 26-30 (non-holiday) / July 3-7 (holiday)

Emergency Medical Calls     46 / 47
Motorist and Public Assists     39 / 56
Disturbing the Peace     28 / 50
Emergency Call (911) Hang-ups     21 / 31
Vehicle Collisions     19 / 22
Suspicious Activity     20 / 23
Domestic Related Incident     11 / 13
SAR / Missing Person     6 / 17
Business Checks     188 / 147
Forest and Community Patrols     468 / 452
Traffic Stops     104 / 133

Vehicle Collisions:

July 4 – Non-injury accident involving single vehicle at FS522 / Snowbowl Road area
July 4 – Injury accident involving juvenile on OHV in the Rim Lake Vista area
July 5 – Non-injury accident involving ATV and another vehicle in the Lake Mary area
July 6 – Injury accident involving person on OHV in the Marshall Lake area
July 6 – Injury accident involving person on OHV in Mormon Lake area
July 6 – Injury accident involving two people in a vehicle that hit a tree in Bear Springs area
July 6 – Injury accident involving juvenile who jumped out of vehicle on Townsend Winona Road.

Also included are several responses to assist AZ Department of Public Safety for vehicle accidents on state highways; and, several private property accidents.

Mount Elden is located in central Coconino County northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona, and has an elevation of 9,298′ (2,834 m).

Traffic / Moving Vehicle Stops: Deputies throughout the county conducted 133 traffic stops during the extended holiday weekend, resulting in 3 arrests/bookings; 26 moving vehicle violation citations (4 of these were boating related); 4 repair orders; 16 written warnings; and, 142 verbal warnings. Many of the traffic stops were for off-road vehicle traffic issues.

Lake Powell: Deputies at Lake Powell made contact with 37 vessels to address boat safety issues. During the contacts with boaters deputies not only checked for impaired driving, but also checked to make sure the right safety equipment was onboard and accessible.

Search and Rescue / Overdue Individuals: Sheriff’s Deputies responded to several calls for missing or overdue individuals ranging in age from youth to adults. During the initial response for these types of calls, information is gathered regarding the description of the missing person, circumstances, any medical conditions, and what type and quantity of food, water, or other equipment they may have with them. Deputies immediately begin to search the area in an attempt to locate the person(s). If further resources are needed, Search and Rescue is advised.

Lieutenant Bret Axlund and Sheriff Jim Driscoll join Arizona Game and Fish Northern District Program Coordinator Mark Stewart and Wildlife Manager for the Page area Seth Pierce in official hand off of a 19 foot Boston Whaler in 2017. The boat was rotated out of service by Arizona Game and Fish and donated to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office to assist the CCSO Lake Powell water safety programs.

In addition to the below listed rescues, there were several calls related to missing persons or search and rescue that were resolved – either by the people on scene or by the original responding deputy – without the need for further resources:

July 3-4: Search and Rescue assisted Page AZ Patrol with locating a stranded motorist whose vehicle became stuck in the sand on the Paria Plateau. On the afternoon of July 3, emergency 911 calls had been received by Kane County (UT) Sheriff’s Office and the Page (AZ) Police Department from the motorist; however, no GPS location information was received with the call. The caller indicated that she was trying to reach White Pocket when she became stuck.

Calls to the stranded motorist to gather more information were not able to be completed. Page Patrol units searched the common routes to White Pocket from the House Rock Valley Road. When the vehicle was not located, Page Patrol asked for assistance from the Search and Rescue (SAR) Coordinator. Additional research with the cell companies maintaining cellular towers in the area was initiated in an attempt to determine the approximate location for the emergency 911 call origination.

Early in the morning of July 4, an Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue helicopter was launched from Kingman (AZ) to help search the area for the vehicle. At approximately 7:30 in the morning, the DPS Air Rescue helicopter located the vehicle and the two occupants. The two occupants, who were from Spain, were flown to the Marble Canyon Airport where deputies assisted them in arranging for a tow truck.

View of San Francisco Peaks, site of the Humphries Trailhead and Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff AZ.

July 4: On July 4 at approximately 3:00 in the afternoon, the Search and Rescue Unit was requested to assist in the search for a 70-year old California female overdue from a short hike in Forest Lakes. The resident Forest Lakes deputy organized local resources, including US Forest Service, Arizona Game and Fish, and Forest Lakes Fire District, to begin the search while the Search and Rescue Team was enroute. An Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue helicopter from Phoenix was requested to assist with the search for the missing hiker. The hiker was located a short distance away from the residence where she was staying and was reunited with family members.

On July 4 at approximately 8:45 in the evening, Search and Rescue was requested to assist with a search for three lost hikers on the Humphrey’s Peak Trail. The hikers indicated that they had lost the trail during their descent from the summit. Based upon location information received from their emergency 911 call, resources were deployed to assist them in getting back to the trail. Prior to SAR making contact with the hikers, they were able to get back on the trail with the help of other hikers in the area.

On July 4 at approximately 11:00 at night, Search and Rescue was requested to assist with a search for a missing member of a group home who had been on an outing to watch fireworks at Twin Arrows casino. The group had parked on a forest road west of the casino and watched the fireworks. After the fireworks show ended, one member of the group was determined to be missing. A search was initiated and patrols on AZ I-40 near where the subject was last seen were conducted. The subject was located several miles west of where he was last with the group. The subject was in good condition and was safely returned to the group home.

July 5: On July 5 at approximately 1:30 in the afternoon, a Search and Rescue helicopter rescue specialist was requested to assist the Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue helicopter based in Flagstaff. The request was for a mission to assist the Washington County (UT) Sheriff’s Office with a helicopter technical rescue of a hiker with a cardiac condition in the Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness. A short-haul rescue was conducted, and the hiker was transferred to an ambulance and transported to a local hospital.

A CCSO Search and Rescue team in past action.

July 6: On July 6 at approximately 6:30 in the evening, the Search and Rescue Unit responded along with Summit Fire District and Guardian Medical Transport to the Humphrey’s Peak Trail to assist a sick hiker. The hiker was approximately three miles from the trail head and was experiencing symptoms consistent with acute mountain sickness. Rescuers were deployed to the Humphrey’s Trail, near the top of the Humphrey’s Peak chairlift, using UTVs from Arizona Snowbowl and the Sheriff’s Office. Rescuers made contact with the hiker on the trail at approximately 8:00 p.m. and provided medical care and then evacuated the hiker to the trail head.

July 7: On July 7 at approximately 2:00 p.m., the CCSO received a call about a subject stuck on a Mount Elden cliff. According to the reporting party, the subject stated that he had been there for two days, was out of water and food, and could not get down. The Search and Rescue Mountain Rescue Team responded along with the Flagstaff Fire Department. The combined rescue team hiked into the area and met with the reporting party who pointed out the location of the stranded subject. A plan was made to climb up to the subject and then secure him in a harness and helmet and lower him to the base of the cliff using a rope, and then escort him to the trail head. The subject was transported by Guardian Medical Transport to Flagstaff Medical Center for evaluation. The subject stated that he had hiked on the Elden Look Out trail to the summit and then descended the canyon on the south side of Mount Elden. In an attempt to climb out of the canyon to return to where he started, he became stranded on a cliff. The subject had attempted to yell for help, but no one heard him until Sunday afternoon.

Deaths: Investigators responded to four deaths, including two that are being investigated as suicides and two natural deaths. No additional information is available at this time.

Fire Related: Deputies responded to several fire related calls, including abandoned campfires, concerns over fireworks, and reports of smoke. On July 4, deputies and fire crews responded to the Chimney Springs Fire in the Schultz Pass area.

Detention Facility: The Coconino County Detention Facility Flagstaff Facility receives arrested persons from Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, Flagstaff Police Department, Northern Arizona University Police, Williams Police, Arizona Department of Public Safety, and state and federal agencies in the area (such as the National Park Service, US Forest Service, and Arizona Game and Fish). During the period of July 3 – July 7, 2019, a total of 179 persons were booked (42 at the Page Facility) and charged as below:

Charge Type Felony / Misdemeanor:

June 26-30 (non-holiday) / July 3-7 (holiday)

Assault     6 / 6
DUI     7 / 12
Alcohol Violations     0 / 6
Drug Offenses     10 / 5
Disorderly Conduct     0 / 14
Theft     0 / 8
Traffic Violations (Driving on Suspended, etc.)     0 / 7
Warrants (Failure to Appear, Failure to Comply, Probation Violation, Parole Violation, etc.)     21 / 48
Property Crimes (Criminal Damage, Trespass, Litter, etc.)  2 / 4
Person Crimes Other (Domestic Violence, Custodial Interference, Kidnap, Endangerment, Threatening, etc.) 5 / 3
and Other (Including Court Remands) 9 / 6.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office extends appreciation and thanks to everyone who assisted and coordinated with its responses during this busy holiday period especially the public sector and private services that provide round the clock help and resources to keep our community safe.

Note: Numbers are best estimates at time of data summary based on field reports from deputies, detention, and dispatch information.

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