Autopsy: AZ Sen. Crandell died after thrown from horse - KPTV - FOX 12


Autopsy: AZ Sen. Crandell died after thrown from horse

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AZ state Sen. Chester Crandell (Source: Arizona Legislature) AZ state Sen. Chester Crandell (Source: Arizona Legislature)
Gov. Brewer ordered flags at fly at half staff on Tuesday. (Source: CBS 5 News) Gov. Brewer ordered flags at fly at half staff on Tuesday. (Source: CBS 5 News)

An autopsy has confirmed that Arizona state Sen. Chester Crandell died from injuries he suffered when he was thrown from a horse, a Navajo County sheriff's official said.

Chief Deputy Jim Molesa said Wednesday that the autopsy ruled out any medical issues that may have caused him to fall, such as a heart attack.

The 68-year-old from Heber was found dead on a ranch near his home on Monday.

Family members went searching for him after he failed to return from a ride on a young colt he was training. He leaves his wife, Alice, 9 children and 36 grandchildren.

Services for Crandell have been set for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Heber. A viewing will be held from 8:30-10:30 a.m.

Crandell had served in the Arizona Senate representing District 6 since January of 2013.

According to his member page on the Arizona Legislature website, Crandell was born in Holbrook and raised in Heber. 

He has worked in the education field for 30 years. The last 10 years he was the superintendent of the Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology, where he created the partnership with Northland Pioneer College to provide educational services to NAVIT.

Gov. Jan Brewer issued this statement in the wake of his death:

"I am deeply saddened  today to learn of the tragic and sudden passing of State Senator Chester Crandell. A fifth-generation native of Arizona, avid rancher, legislator and above all a
gentleman with a tangible love for Arizona and those he served, Chester will be greatly missed.
"My thoughts and prayers along with those of the entire state are with Chester's dear wife, Alice,  and their family during this difficult time. In honor of Senator Crandell and the service he gave to Arizona I have ordered that flags be lowered to half- staff from sunrise tomorrow, Aug. 5, 2014 until sunset Aug. 11, 2014."

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-AZ, said in a statement:

"I am shocked and saddened by the news of Sen. Crandell's passing. We didn't always see eye to eye on things, but I have absolutely no doubt that Sen. Crandell worked on the issues he did because he believed they would improve Arizona. He served his constituents with honor and class. This is a great loss for our state and I offer my condolences to his family and his friends."

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) commented:

"I was saddened to learn of the sudden passing of State Senator Chester Crandell. A fifth-generation Arizonan, rancher and educator, Senator Crandell served his community and our state with great devotion. His leadership and good humor will be missed in the state legislature and throughout Arizona. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Alice and his large and loving family at this difficult time."

Crandell's death has boosted the chances for an independent to be elected to the Legislature for the first time in recent memory.

Crandell was unopposed in the GOP primary and was set to take on independent Tom O'Halleran in the November general election.

O'Halleran is a former lawmaker from Sedona who would have had an uphill battle taking on Crandell as an incumbent.

The state Republican Party now must choose a candidate to appear on the general election ballot to take on O'Halleran in November.

Crandell's 6th Legislative district takes in parts of Navajo, Coconino, Yavapai and Gila counties.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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