[Final update 3/17/2015: The defendant was found incompetent to stand trial and all charges were dismissed CR2013003301. A statement on the defendant’s lawyer’s website relates some more details: “Marie Blandford, who accidentally took Ambien (zolpidem) and blacked out while driving…” “Blandford, a widow and mother of three children, has suffered from progressive dementia and Alzheimer’s and is incapable of assisting her counsel at trial” She now “resides in a 24-hour care facility and has significant memory deficits” ]
[Update 4/5/2013: Authorities have released the victims’ names, they were Clare Louis Kirby, 46, of Mesa (bicyclist) and William Phillips, 72 (motorist). The sheriff’s office spokesman said a homicide investigation is underway; and that criminal charges will be filed and that other charges will depend on the results of the investigation. The suspect was also identified as 73-year-old Marie Blandford of Payson. Victims in 2 fatal crashes ID’d; charges likely for injured driver ]
A hit-and-run driver in a green SUV killed an as-yet unidentified female cyclist on the Bush Highway near Usery Pass Rd 4/3/2013 around 9am. in the Tonto National Forest. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
Witnesses who followed the green SUV saw that vehicle, then get into a separate collision several miles away at Ellsworth and McKellips where the driver of the green SUV T-boned another vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle died a short time later; The driver of the green SUV was injured; police identify her only as a 73-year old female.
Google maps view of the two locations; pin A is the bicyclist fatality, and B is the motorist fatality. They are 6.7 miles apart; a driving time of some 9 minutes according to google maps. A more exact location of the bicyclist crash wasn’t give, it appears from the news-copter footage that it was Bush Highway somewhere west of the intersection with Usery Pass (Usery Pass Road is also called Ellsworth Road in Mesa; the 2nd collision was at the intersection of Ellsworth and McKellips). This area is a designated bike lane, and appears to be in good shape.
This is FARS case=40216 ; the driver is positive for zolpidem (Ambien).