Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from July 30 – Aug. 1

Aug 1, 2021, 6:00 PM
(Pixabay photo)...
(Pixabay photo)
(Pixabay photo)

PHOENIX — Traffic deaths in Arizona reached a 12-year high in 2020, Arizona State University is now “strongly recommending” that everybody wears face masks inside campus buildings and Ken Bennett said he will continue in his role of Arizona Senate liaison for the Republican-ordered Maricopa County election audit following a week of uncertainty.

Here are some of the biggest stories that headlined the Arizona news cycle over the weekend.

Arizona sees 12-year high in traffic deaths despite decline in 2020 crashes

Traffic deaths in Arizona reached a 12-year high in 2020, despite reductions in traffic volume due to the pandemic, a recent report showed.

At least 1,057 people were killed in traffic collisions, up from 980 in 2019, while the state saw drivers travel an estimated nearly five billion fewer miles in 2020 — a 7% decrease from the previous year, according to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report published on Thursday.

Categories that track deaths showed an increase, including deaths from speed-related and lane-departure crashes, as well as deaths from people not wearing seatbelts.

At the same time, the total number of traffic crashes came in under 100,000 for the first time since 1993.

ASU ‘strongly recommending’ face masks as fall semester approaches

With a new semester fast approaching, Arizona State University said Friday it is now “strongly recommending” that everybody wears face masks inside campus buildings.

Public universities and community colleges can’t require face coverings or COVID-19 vaccines under an executive order issued by Gov. Doug Ducey on June 15.

Ducey issued the executive order to block ASU from implementing a planned indoor and outdoor face mask requirement. The public college ban on mask and vaccine mandates was later passed into law as part of the state budget and will take effect Sept. 29.

ASU does, however, require masks in certain health care centers and on campus shuttles.

Ken Bennett granted audit access, will remain Arizona Senate liaison

Following a week of uncertainty after his access was restricted, Ken Bennett said he will continue in his role of Arizona Senate liaison for the Republican-ordered Maricopa County election audit as it moves into the reporting phase.

State Senate President Karen Fann and Bennett announced a deal Friday to keep Bennett involved after he threatened to abandon the project over what he said was a lack of transparency from Cyber Ninjas, the audit’s lead contractor. The dispute arose as the hands-on portion of the review was coming to a close.

Friday’s announcement came a week after Bennett was barred from the Arizona State Fairgrounds building where the last hands-on work was completed.

Bennett accused Cyber Ninjas of withholding information from him but said he was still open to working with Doug Logan’s company and the other contractors during the documentation process, but only if they agreed to share all the information he would need to properly vet the final report.

MCSO arrests suspect who exchanged gunfire with a deputy in West Valley

A man who fired at a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputy in a small West Valley town earlier this month has been arrested, authorities said Friday.

The deputy responded to a domestic violence call in Youngtown on July 10 and upon arrival, identified two suspects in an apartment believed to have been described in the call, MCSO said in a press release.

As the deputy began giving commands to one suspect, another, identified as James Crespo III, exited the apartment from behind the deputy and fired multiple gunshots toward him, according to the release.

Rescue teams find female hiker dead on the side of Camelback Mountain

A reported missing hiker was found dead on the side of Camelback Mountain on Friday, authorities said.

Officers responded to a call from a hiker around 1 p.m. who said his female companion never made it back to the Camelback Mountain parking lot.

Police said the pair was hiking the mountain when the woman, who was visiting from out of town, became overheated halfway up.

She decided to return to the parking lot while her companion continued to the top of the mountain. When he returned to the vehicle, she was no where to be found, authorities said.

The missing hiker, who has not been identified, was found around 4:40 p.m. off the Echo Canyon Trail, next to a home, authorities said.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

In this photo provided by the Orange County Fire Rescue's Public Information Office, firefighters i...

Phoenix Fire task force packed, ready for call to help in Ian aftermath

A task force of nearly 150 Phoenix firefighters is ready to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Florida, if the need arises.
11 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Lynx Airlines)...

Canadian start-up Lynx Air to launch nonstop Phoenix-Calgary service

Canadian start-up carrier Lynx Air plans to launch a nonstop route between Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Calgary next year.
11 hours ago
(From left: AP Photo/Gregory Bull; Facebook Photo/Katie Hobbs)...

Katie Hobbs says container wall at border gaps not best use of Arizona resources

Democratic candidate for Arizona governor Katie Hobbs said state resources at the southern border would be better used on measures that weren't "political stunts," referring to shipping containers put in place at wall gaps.
11 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Arizona School Boards Association)...
Griselda Zetino

Why Arizona voters should pay attention to school board candidates

James Bryce, president-elect of the Arizona School Boards Association said candidates may play a huge role in the education of K-12 students.
11 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights)...

Tovrea Castle tour in Phoenix opens spring 2023 ticket lottery Saturday

The spring 2023 ticket lottery for the Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights in Phoenix opens Sunday and runs through Oct. 15.
11 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Luke Forstner

Prop 209 would make changes to Arizona’s debt collection rules

Arizona's Prop 209 aims to protect people with loans when they are struggling to pay, but opponents say it would make credit harder to get.
11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from July 30 – Aug. 1