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Tests: Cochise sheriff was impaired at time of fatal crash

Preliminary findings in the death of former Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever show that he was impaired when he crashed his vehicle.

The level of alcohol found in Dever’s system was consistent with that of an impaired person, the report said.

It was determined that Dever died of multiple injuries sustained when he crashed his vehicle on Sept. 18 while on his way to meet family for a hunting-and-fishing trip.

An investigative report released earlier this week also showed his seat belt
was unbuckled and that Dever had liquor and beer in his vehicle. It noted that
some containers were unopened but didn’t specify whether any were open.

A spokesman for the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said earlier this week
that authorities had no indication of alcohol use.

Dever’s family said in a statement released through the Cochise County
Sheriff’s Office that he undoubtedly was still reeling from stress and pressure
in his personal life, including the death of his mother four days before the
crash. They said they were saddened when told his blood-alcohol content was
above the state’s legal limit of 0.08.

“The Dever family advised that they remain so grateful for the overwhelming
support and outpouring of love from Cochise County and across the nation, and
they pray this report does not diminish the respect and admiration that so many
have for such a great man,” the sheriff’s office said.

Dever first was elected sheriff in 1996 and had been running for a fifth term
in November.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.