by David Mendez
Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever died in a car crash near Williams, Ariz. last night. He was 60 years old.
From the Sierra Vista Herald:
Coconino County law enforcement was initially contacted about the accident at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday when a caller reported a single-vehicle rollover accident on Forest Service Road 109, about two miles north of White Horse Lake, which is about 20 miles southwest of Flagstaff.
The caller had been traveling behind the 2008 white, three-quarter ton Chevrolet pickup truck headed south on a dirt road that leads to White Horse Lake. The caller lost sight of the vehicle for a brief time, then reported seeing a cloud of dust, and as the vehicle came into view, it was clear the vehicle had rolled over and come to a rest upright on its wheels, a press release from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office states.
The caller advised there were no signs of life coming from the single occupant, later identified as Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever.
"Larry has been a leader for this county, this state and, indeed, this country on the issue of illegal immigration for many years. His calm, intelligent and common sense approach to this issue as well as his leadership of the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office is his professional legacy," said Cochise County Supervisor Pat Call in an email statement. "His devotion to his family and friends is a legacy that is immeasurable. Our prayers and thoughts are with his wife, Nancy, and his family tonight. Larry was a friend and a trusted colleague to me. He will be missed by many - and he will be remembered."
Dever was running unopposed in this fall’s election for what would have been his fifth term as sheriff. It is unclear at this time what his sudden passing will mean in the electoral process.
Local officials are sharing condolences. Congressman Ron Barber:
Larry Dever was the consummate law enforcement professional, dedicating more than half of his life to the sheriff’s department in his native Cochise County. He was — literally and figuratively— the lawman in the white hat.
Sheriff Dever started his career in the Cochise County Sheriff’s Department 34 years ago, rising from deputy to sergeant to major. Sixteen years ago, he was elected sheriff and because of his commitment to the county in which he was born, Sheriff Dever was looking forward to serving the people of Cochise County for another four years.
His sincerity and his allegiance to this nation and to the safety and security of Cochise County residents and all Americans could never be questioned.
Sheriff Dever’s experience and his voice cannot be replaced. My condolences and prayers go out to his family, to his colleagues in the Cochise County Sheriff’s Department and to a grateful community.
Republican Martha McSally, who hopes to unseat Barber in November:
My prayers and deepest condolences go out to the Dever family, the officers who served by his side, and to the people of Cochise County. I am heartbroken by this tragedy and loss of a great American. Sheriff Larry Dever served his community and country with honor and steadfastness. He will be greatly missed.
Congressman Jeff Flake, who is seeking to replace the retiring Sen. Jon Kyl:
Today Arizonans mourn the unexpected loss of Sheriff Larry Dever. Larry was a true leader among lawmen—committed to the law, his community, and his state. We are grateful for Larry’s quiet, effective leadership on border security and his desire to protect the residents of Cochise County and southern Arizona. Cheryl and I will miss his friendship. We offer our most heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Larry’s wife Nancy and the entire Dever family.
I am saddened to hear of the death of my great friend, Sheriff Larry Dever. Sheriff Dever was a respected public servant, committed to ensuring the safety of the citizens of Cochise County and all of Arizona, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with him. Arizona has lost a true hero in the fight against violence at the border and he will be greatly missed. His family is in my prayers.
Arizona Senate President Steve Pierce:
Arizona’s hearts are heavy today on the news of the death of Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever. Cochise County could not have had a better fighter for its residents. He always had the best interests in mind for the community.
To many people, Larry Dever WAS Cochise County. He was born in St. David, grew up there and joined the Sheriff’s Department back in 1976. In 1996, voters made him their Sheriff.
Larry was always ready to come up to Phoenix to let state leaders know what was happening in his county. No one better articulated concerns about illegal immigration and drug smuggling and how they impacted residents. My fellow ranchers who live near the border knew they could count on Sheriff Dever. His voice will be missed.
My condolences go out today to his wife Nancy, their six boys and 11 grandchildren.
Arizona Democratic Party chairman Bill Roe:
Arizona has lost a good public servant and a good man. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, children and grandchildren.
Jim Nintzel contributed to this report.