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Sheriff Larry Dever Didn't Have Seat Belt On When His Truck was Found; Feds Check Forest Road for Problems

A picture released of Dever's truck shows the severity of the rollover accident.
A picture released of Dever's truck shows the severity of the rollover accident.
Image: Coconino County Sheriff's Office

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever wasn't wearing a seat belt when his body was found on Tuesday night by a deputy following Dever's fatal rollover crash near Williams.

Dever was killed when his 2008 three-quarter-ton Chevrolet pickup slid off a forest road and rolled just after sunset. He'd been on his way to a hunting trip with family members.

Gerry Blair, spokesman for the Coconino County Sheriff's Office, tells New Times that a deputy on scene soon after the crash noticed that Dever didn't have his seat belt on.

-See Also: Speed a Possible Factor in Sheriff Dever's Crash; Beer Found at Crash Site, But No Indication Dever had Been Drinking

-See Also: Larry Dever is a Real Arizona Sheriff

That doesn't necessarily mean Dever wasn't wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, Blair adds. It could have popped open at some point during the incident or just after, he says. The medical examiner's office will determine whether Dever's body has any bruising that could indicate he actually was restrained as the vehicle rolled.

As our last blog post on the details of Dever's crash mentioned, beer cans were found at the scene, but were believed to have come from a cooler in Dever's pickup bed. The deputy at the scene didn't smell any odor of alcohol coming from the cab or see any open containers, Blair reported previously.

So far, the Coconino Sheriff's Office is only saying Dever lost control of the truck for an unknown reason. Blair told us on Wednesday that "one school of thought" by investigators is that Dever had been going too fast.

The investigation into why the crash happened is pending.

Dever had been driving southbound on Forest Road 109, about two miles north of White Horse Lake, in the Kaibab National Forest. Although some initial media reports stated that the road had been the site of previous car crashes, Kaibab spokeswoman Jackie Banks says she's not aware of any in recent memory.

Roads on national forest land are still governed by Arizona traffic laws, Banks explains. That means drivers must always need to be traveling at a reasonable and prudent speed for the conditions. Some forest roads have speed limit signs, but not FS109.

Forest Service engineers inspected the road near the crash site yesterday and will report back on any factors that might be a concern, Banks says.


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