Beeline Accident, Young House Fire Claim Lives


A fire in a mobile home that killed a 67-year-old man from Young earlier this month was most likely started accidentally, investigators said.

David LeRoy Davidson’s body was found burned just three feet from his backdoor after his home, off Rolling Hills Road in Young, went up in a plume of flames in the early hours of Nov. 8, said Gila County Det. George Ratliff.

According to a neighbor, at about 1:25 a.m., her dogs started barking furiously. When she went to let them out, the woman noticed a red glow in the sky and called for help.

The woman told her husband to check on the home roughly half a block away, but when he went over “he couldn’t get near it, it was already totally engulfed,” Ratliff said.

Davidson lived alone and was last seen in good condition around 6 p.m. Nov. 7 when a caretaker dropped off some food.

Davidson, who was on oxygen, was a heavy chain smoker, Ratliff said.

According to family Ratliff spoke with, it was normal for Davidson to have several cigarettes lit and sitting in ashtrays around the doublewide home. When Ratliff arrived at the residence after the fire was extinguished, he said there was very little evidence left given the severity of the blaze.

However, he ruled out arson since no accelerants were found. Ratliff believes the fire started in the living room since this is the only place where the fire burned through the floor.

“Everything points towards accidental,” he said. “We are looking at where it started, probably a cigarette. With oxygen in the house, it does not take much to start.”

According to his obituary, Davidson was a former union electrician, Arizona guide and avid outdoorsman. He was born in Cope, Colo.

Mesa woman dies in Hwy. 87 crash

A Mesa woman was killed and two Payson paramedics injured Wednesday after the woman’s car collided with the ambulance head-on in Fountain Hills, DPS officials said.

Sharon Delahanty, 65, was killed after her beige 2008 Honda Accord crashed into a Lifestar ambulance on Highway 87 and the Bush Highway about 8 p.m., said an Arizona Department of Public Safety official.

Delahanty was driving southbound in the northbound lanes when the collision occurred.

Several motorists called to report Delahanty driving in the wrong direction just minutes before the crash.

When officers arrived, Delahanty was found dead in her car. An investigation into the crash is ongoing, but there is no mention of impairment at this time, DPS said.

Payson paramedics Paul Rife II, 28, and passenger Todd Plues, 46, were taken to a Scottsdale hospital with non-life threatening injuries. It is unknown if they have been released.

The ambulance was not carrying any patients at the time.

Several lanes of travel were restricted for several hours while the crash was cleaned up.


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