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.

Missing 70 Year-Old Linda Schleizer Found Deceased

ASH FORK — On July 30, 2016 search teams from Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue were conducting a follow up search for 70 year-old Linda Schleizer in the Juniperwood Ranches area. At approximately 9:00 am, one of the search teams located the deceased body of Ms. Schleizer. The team called Coconino County Sheriff’s Office to respond to the scene. The body of Ms. Schleizer was located approximately ¾ miles to the east of the residence under a juniper tree in a shallow wash area. A Coconino County Sheriff’s Office deputy and detective responded along with personnel from the Coconino County Office of the Medical Examiner to conduct the death investigation.

The search for Linda Schleizer has been led by a joint effort of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. Other agencies that assisted included Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue, Navajo County Sheriff’s Office, Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona Wing Civil Air Patrol, Kaibab Estates West Fire Department and Ash Fork Fire Department.

The search for Linda Schleizer began on the afternoon of July 16, 2016 after her husband reported her missing from their home. Ms. Schliezer was 70 years old and suffered from Alzheimers; she was known to walk around the family.

A Silver Alert was issued and search teams were activated the day she was reported missing. The active search continued through the evening of July 19 when it was transitioned to continuous limited status. Follow up search searches were conducted in the area on July 23 and again on July 30 when her body was located.

Elderly Woman Missing Outside Ash Fork

CORRECTED: 7/17; 21:08
Missing Person Schleizer 3Ash Fork — The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the assistance of the public in locating a missing 70 year old woman.

The Sheriff’s Office is currently conducting a search operation for the missing woman, 70 year old Linda Schleizer. Schleizer walked away from her home outside Ash Fork around 4:00 PM today and never returned home. Schleizer suffers from severe Alzheimer’s and when stressed, she has a tendency to withdraw and may have panic attacks. Schleizer will not answer to her name when called.

Schleizer commonly walks around the family’s property and normal returns home. She had been an avid hiker, and it is unknown how far she may walk. The family home is about 8.4 miles North West of Ash Fork and about 4.7 miles north of Interstate 40.

Schleizer is 5 feet 6 inches tall, 108 pounds, brown hair with hazel eyes. She was last seen wearing a burnt orange shirt, purple shorts, gray Skechers tennis shoes and wearing prescription glasses.

The search is being conducted by Coconino County with assistance from the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona Department of Public Safety Ranger Helicopter out of Flagstaff and Kaibab Estates West Fire Department.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Schleizer, please call the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office as 928-774-4523.