Photo by Wendy Howell.
Coconino County Sheriff’s Office responded to a large number of calls over the Memorial Day weekend. Dry weather, warm temperatures, and fire restrictions contributed to increased calls for service. Area patrols also included increased efforts on off highway vehicle traffic safety and enforcing fire bans.
Calls for Service
During the holiday weekend, deputies responded to approximately 455 calls for service compared to 350 the previous Friday through Monday, which is approximately a 30 percent increase. In addition, deputies conducted over 400 forest and community patrols and over 100 traffic stops.
Common types of calls deputies responded to included:
• 82 calls related to fire, including possible fire ban violations
• 40 suspicious activity calls
• 40 motorist and public assists
• 38 emergency medical situations
• 34 disturbing the peace complaints; many of the disturbing the peace calls were associated with camping situations and discharging of weapons
Fire Air Patrols
Over the holiday weekend, search and rescue unit volunteers assisted an air patrol pilot by serving as spotters. They spent approximately 5.5 hours on aerial fire patrols and spotted three illegal campfires. Law enforcement on the ground responded to the reported locations to follow up on the reports and enforce fire ban regulations.
The aerial team reported that many popular camping areas were heavily populated with campers over the weekend, estimating some 80-90 recreational camping vehicles over 10-12 acres of area in places such as Cinder Lakes. They did not observe any campers in the recently closed forest service areas.
Since the start of the aerial fire patrols May 17, approximately 14 hours of flight time was dedicated to these patrols. Prior to this weekend, no illegal campfires had been observed. However, several illegal camps were observed set up within the city limits.
Ban Citations Issued
Deputies issued 12 citations for violations of the Stage 2 fire ban.
Deputies at Page and Lake Powell areas contacted several boaters over the weekend. 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.
Vehicle Collisions: There were several reported off road vehicle collisions.
• May 26 - Injury accident involving an ATV/quad in Stoneman Lake area with two adult males injured
• May 26 – Serious injury accident involving ATV rollover in Mormon Lake area with four injured and transported to the medical center
• May 26 – Non-injury accident involving vehicle versus elk on FS 73
• May 28 – Minor injury accident involving vehicle rollover on FS 9007K
• May 28 – Non-injury accident involving vehicle versus elk on Hwy 180
• Several private property accidents
Traffic / Moving Vehicle Stops:
Deputies throughout the county conducted over 100 traffic stops during the height of the weekend, resulting in 29 moving vehicle violation citations (1 boat citation; 8 speeding violations); 11 written warnings, 56 verbal warnings. Of these citations, some were issued to parents of youth riding off highway vehicles without appropriate protective gear (helmets).
Search and Rescue / Overdue Individuals:
Sheriff’s Deputies responded to several calls for missing or overdue individuals ranging in age from youth to adults. Fortunately, of the calls received this weekend, all were resolved within a few hours and the persons returned safely.
• On May 25 the Sheriff’s Office received a call about a 54-year-old female camping in the Forest Lakes area who was several hours overdue. The reporting part cancelled the request when she returned.
• On May 26 deputies responded to a report of two 15-year-olds on an ATV who were overdue in the area of Forest Road 535. The juveniles returned safely after a couple of hours.
• On May 26 deputies responded to an overdue 32-year-old male in the Forest Lakes area. Several hours later the subject was found at a Safeway in Payson.
• On May 27 deputies responded to the report of a missing child in the Woods Canyon Lake area. The child was located without further incident.
• On May 27 deputies responded to the report of an overdue 10-year-old riding a quad in the Cinder Lakes area. The youth was located safe.
• On May 27 deputies responded to an overdue 48-year-old male camping in the Williams area who had gone for a supposed short walk. The person returned to the camp after a few hours.
• On May 27 deputies responded to a report a 60+-year-old male who became separated from his hiking group in the Dogtown Lake area. Another person in the area located the subject and assisted in getting him back with his group.
• On May 27-28 Search and Rescue also responded to an abandoned vehicle near Ashurst Lake. Upon further investigation, the vehicle appeared to be associated with Alicia Artley (McClure), a missing 30-year old female out of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Search and Rescue spent seven hours conducting ground search as well as used dog teams and an unmanned aerial vehicle searching the area. AZ DPS also assisted with an over flight. No clues were developed regarding Artley’s whereabouts. The situation is still under investigation.
Detention Facility: The Coconino County Detention Facility Flagstaff Facility, which receives arrested persons from Coconino Sheriff’s Office, Flagstaff Police Department, Northern Arizona University Police, Williams Police, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety processed approximately 100 bookings from May 25 – May 28 (23 of these were at the Page Facility).
Booking charge categories included, but were not limited, to the following: three aggravated assaults, eight assaults, two DUIs, two aggravated DUIs, five liquor violations, seven drug offenses, six marijuana offenses, six disorderly conducts, two felony thefts, 25 failure to appear / comply / warrant / holds, three probation / parole violations, five court remands, and two criminal damage. Bookings also included, but were not limited to misdemeanor charges of: trespass, weapons violations, driving violations, and shoplifting.
Numbers are best estimates at time of data summary based on field reports from deputies, detention, and dispatch information.
Information provided by Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.
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