Busy Monday morning for first responders

WILLIAMS – A busy, cold morning for first responders began with the Williams Fire Department responding to a fire at the Newpac Lumber yard at 675 Garland Prairie Road in Williams at about 4:50 a.m. The Williams Fire Department called for the assistance of the Sherwood Fire Department early in the fire and, with the workers at the Newpac Lumber yard, battled the blaze until about 9:10 when the fire department began overhaul procedures.The Williams Fire Department continually sprayed foam on the burning logs as the workers used cranes to move logs. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

A slight veil of smoke covered I-40, but the impact of visibility appears to be minimum. No injuries were reported.While the fire department was fighting this, the Ash Fork Fire Department, Department of Public Service and Lifeline Ambulance responded to a one-vehicle roll-over at mile 149 on I-40 at about 8:20 a.m. Fortunately no serious injury was reported. An investigation is ongoing.

Man Arrested for Shooting Incident near Ash Fork

Ash Fork – Coconino County Sheriff’s deputies and detectives have arrested an Ash Fork man in connection with a shooting incident surrounding a domestic dispute.

On Sunday May 7 Coconino County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of shots fired at a home in Kaibab Estates West, a residential subdivision outside Ash Fork. Deputies contacted the occupants of the home and found that no one had been shot; however, several shots had been fired outside the home.

Through the investigation, deputies learned that 47-year-old John Wayne Slater of Ash Fork had driven to the victim’s home to confront him about Slater’s estranged wife who was staying at the home of the victim. Slater approached the door to confront them and was armed with a handgun. The homeowner and Slater spoke briefly at which time the homeowner closed the door on Slater. Slater fired several shots outside the front door. Slater went back to his vehicle and began to drive off and fired several other shots, then fled the area.

No one was hit by the gun fire but a vehicle parked in the driveway was found to have one bullet hole.

Deputies located Slater a short time later and took him into custody without incident.

Slater was arrested for one count of Aggravated Assault, 2 counts of Disorderly Conduct with a Weapon, 2 counts of Felony Endangerment, Criminal Damage and trespass and booked into the Coconino County Jail.

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Freeman no longer a free man

WILLIAMS – All three suspects who fled police this morning are now in custody.

At approximately 10:45 AM, a Yavapai County Sheriff K9 attempted to stop a maroon 4 door sedan for a traffic violation east I-40 in the Ash Fork area. As the vehicle failed to yield, a male passenger appeared to be thrown from the vehicle and was detained.
The k9 unit pursued the vehicle at speeds in excess of 100 mph. The vehicle apparently became disabled and pulled off at milepost 165 near the Bearizona attraction and crashed into a culvert.

One of the remaining two suspects was apprehended almost immediately at the ADOT yard on Route 66 near the Bearizona Wild Life park. The suspect identified as John Dale Freeman fired shots at deputies and fled beginning a six-hour manhunt with units of the Yavapai County and Coconino County Sheriff’s Departments, the Williams Police Department and the Department of Public Safety including the DPS helicopter. The Arizona Department of Transportation also assisted and Kaibab Forest Rangers may have also participated. None of the search party were injured in the event.

Arizona DPS helicopter flies over Williams searching for suspect.


Schools in Williams were locked down as was Bearizona. Guests of Bearizona were gathered in the Gift Shop and Restaurant area for a couple of hours. They were eventually allowed to evacuate the park. Parents of Williams were required to pick up their kids from schools early and kids in outlying areas were bused home at the regular time.

Freeman in custody.


Various reports of sightings of Freeman occurred in Williams with none being confirmed. The search continued in the forested areas around Bearizona until about 3:30 p.m. when Freeman was reported captured outside of Bearizona. The other two suspects have not yet been identified.

Freeman turns from camera while in police vehicle.


Citizens around Williams reported recognizing Freeman as frequenting the Williams area. Others in Flagstaff reported on the Facebook page of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Department that they recognized him around Flagstaff. Freeman may have lived in Williams according to some accounts. Our research shows that Freeman may have a criminal past.

High speed chase ends in crash and manhunt in Williams

WILLIAMS – A chase by Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputies which began in Ash Fork ended in a crash at exit 165 in Williams at about 11. It appears there were three suspects, one was injured in the crash and one was apprehended at the ADOT yard on Route 66. A manhunt is in effect for one suspect, considered armed and dangerous.

Williams schools are currently on lock-down. Bearizona was on lock-down, but it appears they are allowing traffic out of the wild life park, but traffic is still being re-routed on Route 66. Traffic on I-40 still appears to be moving.

Details are not known about the cause of the chase or what the suspects were wanted for. There were gunshots fired, but there are no reports of injuries at this time.

Units from the Williams Police Department, Coconino County Sheriff’s office and the Department of Public Safety are participating in the search.

Material testing on State Route 89 Meath Wash Bridge requires ADOT to narrow travel lanes

ASH FORK – Travel lanes on State Route 89 at the Meath Wash Bridge near Ash Fork will be narrowed to 12 feet next week and the speed limit will be reduced to 35 mph to create a safe work zone for crews doing soil and materials testing.

Drivers with loads wider than 12 feet must find an alternate route. Restrictions will be in place daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, through Friday, March 3. The Meath Wash Bridge is located on SR 89, approximately five miles south of Interstate 40.

The work is required for the design of a project to replace the bridge.

Drivers should proceed through the work zone with caution, slow down and watch for construction personnel and equipment.

ADOT works to inform the public about planned highway restrictions and closures, but it’s possible that unscheduled impacts might occur because of weather or other factors. For the most current information about highway conditions statewide, visit ADOT’s Traveler Information Site at www.az511.gov, follow ADOT on Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) or call 511, except while driving.

Snow today, rain through tomorrow

WILLIAMS – Williams and Flagstaff may experience some snow before noon, today, turning to rain in the afternoon and through Tuesday. Ash Fork, Valle and the surrounding area can expect rain through the same period.

Winds today will be West southwest wind 18 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. On Tuesday winds will be 15-mph with gusts up to 23. The chill factor will be minimal and temperatures will remain in the mid-40s.

It is expected to clear Wednesday and Thursday with temperatures in the 50s. Chance of rain will return Friday and through the weekend, but temperatures are currently expected to remain in the upper-40s and lower-50s.

No hazardous conditions are predicted for the time frame. The rain should wash away some of the remaining snow and residents can expect muddy conditions. Icy conditions may exist in the early morning hours, so drivers should take caution.

Several Recent Multi-Agency Winter Related Rescues in Northern Arizona

FLAGSTAFF – Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputies and Search and Rescue Unit responded to five snow related rescues over this past weekend.

On Friday January 20, 2017 deputies responded to a female in medical distress who was stranded in the snow when the all-terrain vehicle she and her companion were driving became stuck in the snow. The female and her male friend had gone for an ATV ride off Slayton Ranch Road north east of Flagstaff when they got their UTV stuck in deep snow on a hill. The couple had a disagreement and the male walked away to get help.

The female who was pregnant and had other medical conditions began to suffer from hypothermia and experience various degrees of consciousness. Deputies aided by citizens with ATV’s attempted to reach the female victim, but were unsuccessful due to the deep snow. A deputy was able to hike to the female and began to render aid until Search and Rescue personnel and a medic from Guardian Ambulance were able to get to the victim by way of a specialized tracked UTV. The female was transported to a waiting ground ambulance and transported to Flagstaff Medical Center where she was admitted for treatment of hypothermia.

On Saturday January 21, 2017 Coconino Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to a subject who had become stuck in chest deep snow while snowboarding in the back county on the south side of the San Francisco Peaks. Two ski patrol personnel from the Arizona Snowbowl responded from the top of the mountain with snowshoes, while nine Search and Rescue volunteers responded from the Kachina Trail. Ski patrol made contact with the victim and were able to assist him down the mountain to the Freidlein Prairie Road to Search and Rescue’s waiting snow cat. The subject was transported back to the Snowbowl and re-united with his party.

On Sunday January 22, 2017 Coconino County Deputies and Search and Rescue began a search for two overdue snowmobilers in the Jacob Lake area. Two subjects had checked into Jacob Lake Lodge and left the area for a snowmobile trip to an unknown destination. When the subjects had not returned by late that evening, the Sheriff’s Office was contacted. Deputies contacted a flight crew from Classic Air Medical out of Page who were in Flagstaff at the time. The flight crew agreed to fly the Jacob Lake area on their trip back to their base.

The flight crew located two snowmobiles headed toward Jacob Lake on the Ryan Road. The subjects made it back to Jacob Lake prior to sunrise. They reported they snowmobiled to the north rim of the Grand Canyon, but on the return trip they encountered deep snow. Their snowmobiles became stuck in the deep snow requiring them to dig out the machines and delaying their return. Neither of them required medical attention.

On Monday January 23, 2017 the Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a snowboarder who was in the back country and had suffered a possible broken leg. The subject left the ski area of the Arizona Snowbowl and entered the back country on the south side of the San Francisco Peaks. The subject jumped an unknown object and fractured his leg. Four ski patrollers from Arizona Snowbowl and 13 Coconino Sheriff’s Search and Rescue volunteers responded to the area.

The ski patrol descended from the top of the mountain with a toboggan while Search and Rescue responded from Freidlein Prairie Road in a snow cat. Ski patrol located the victim, provided initial treatment and prepared the subject for transport. Search and Rescue personnel hiked uphill from Freidlein Prairie to break trail for the ski patrol’s descent. The patient was safely transported by toboggan to the Search and Rescue snow cat and transported to a waiting ambulance.

Monday January 23, 2017 evening, the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue responded to assist the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZ DPS) with a tour bus that had become stuck in mud just off the highway. Around 4:00 PM the AZ DPS received a call of a tour bus stuck just off Hwy 180 on Forest Road 417. Troopers responded to the area and found the bus driver had followed his GPS directing an alternate route to Page, AZ. The bus became stuck in the mud about four miles off the highway. The bus was fully loaded with 45 tourists from South Korea. Highway 180 was closed at the time due to drifting snow in Kendrick Park.

The rescue of the tourists was further affected by one of the series of snow storms that hit the area around 5:00 PM. The storm resulted in a quick accumulation of six to eight inches of snow in the area. DPS began shuttling the tourists to a staging area near the highway using several of their four wheel drive patrol vehicles. A citizen also assisted in shuttling the bus passengers. Coconino Sheriff’s Search and Rescue arranged for a bus and three employees from the Williams Unified School District to transport the tourists to a local motel.

Winter Storms Leave People in Need of Rescue

ASH FORK – On January 27, 2017 at approximately 10:00 am, Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch received a call from a citizen advising that he was assisting residents of the Westwood Ranch Subdivision who had become isolated due to the recent winter storms.

The citizen was attempting to bring food, water, and gas supplies using a large military type vehicle. He had become stuck in the snow and unable to proceed. He had reported that one of the individuals he was attempting to help was a female having a diabetic emergency living in an RV on Flat Tank Road.

Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Search and Rescue personnel began response to the area to make an assessment. It was confirmed through telephone contact with the woman in medical need that she did need immediate medical attention.

Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue was requested to respond due to an extended ground response and unknown road conditions. Air Rescue landed nearby the woman’s residence and airlifted her to the Flagstaff Medical Center for treatment.

Personnel are still in the process of conducting this rescue and distributing the supplies to the location on Flat Tank Road. Coconino Sheriff’s Deputies and Search and Rescue ground personnel are responding in a matt-tracked vehicle to assist in the rescue of the original reporting party whose vehicle had become disabled.

The man and two others with him are sheltered in place in a nearby residence awaiting rescue.

Snow accumulations of up to 18-inches possible for Christmas

WILLIAMS — The rain fell through the night and Williams was greeted by a thin veil of early morning fog to start the first day of winter. The rain is expected to continue through Friday turning to snow on Saturday. The current evaluation by NOAA is that Williams could be greeted by up to 18-inches of snow Christmas day. Snow may continue on Christmas with a possible half-inch of further accumulation during the day, clearing up by Sunday night.

Winds today will be up to 16-mph with gusts up to 24 dropping slightly overnight. Winds tomorrow will be up to 14-mph with gusts up to 21 building up to 21-mph winds Friday night. On Saturday winds are expected to remain up to 24-mph with gusts of 37-mph.

Christmas eve should be a great day for those with tickets on the Polar Express. A 90% chance of snow showers exists throughout the day. Seven- to eleven-inches of snow is possible by evening with another 3-to-7-inches possible overnight. Snow is possible Christmas day with a slight amount of accumulation. The snow will probably be a welcome sight for the reindeer at the Grand Canyon Deer Farm and the Wild Wonderland at Bearizona is a must see in the snow.Flagstaff can expect about the same weather with a slightly less snow accumulation over the same period. The new snow, however, should be great news for the skiers at the Snowbowl. They apparently are receiving snow already according to their web cam.

Ash Fork will be a player in the snow game with a possible 4-inches of snow over the same period. Winds will be about the same as Williams. Valle should receive about the same amount of snow as Ash Fork and about the same wind speeds.

The weather is still expected to clear up over Sunday night with temperatures returning to the mid-40s by Wednesday.

We continue to remind everyone to BE SAFE on the highways. Watch out for snow plows and slow down. Get off of the highway if you want to play in the snow. We highly recommend going to Flagstaff, Williams, Bellemont, Parks, Ash Fork, instead of taking an exit as you could get snowed in and stranded. Stopping at one of the safe cities and towns also offers the opportunity of hot coffee or cocoa to help you enjoy the experience.

HIgh Wind Advisory today through tonight.

noaaThe National Weather Service has issued a high wind advisory from 11 a.m. today through 7 p.m. tonight from Ash Fork to Flagstaff. The high wind advisory extends to Tusayan and Prescott.

Winds will be from the southwest from 20 to 30 mph gusting up to 50 mph. Travelers should take caution driving from Ash Fork to Flagstaff.