CASA GRANDE — Police have arrested a man they believe is responsible for a string of indecent exposure reports in Casa Grande over the past month.
Matthew Nicholas Webb, 28, was arrested at his home on the 600 block of West Jardin Drive on Thursday without incident. He is being held at the Pinal County jail on four counts of indecent exposure and public sexual indecency.
Webb is believed to be connected to numerous reports from people in Casa Grande who claimed they saw a man who was only half dressed in public, with many of the witnesses telling their stories to police and on social media.
According to a Casa Grande Police Department press release Friday, the initial reports were vague, as the culprit was wearing a mask and victims were not able to get any detailed descriptions. However, the man reportedly became more “brazen” in the past few weeks, exposing himself to more victims and sometimes even talking to them and taking off his mask.
CGPD in its release thanked the victims for working with the detectives during the investigation, along with other information provided by the community and business leaders that provided key witness information and surveillance footage.
While an arrest has been made, CGPD is continuing to investigate the case as there could be more charges coming against Webb. Anyone with any information related to this case is encouraged to call the Police Department at 520-421-8711, ext. 6038.
CASA GRANDE — Three children were seriously injured in an automobile collision Friday afternoon in Casa Grande.
A Chevrolet Malibu and a Toyota Scion SUV collided shortly after 3:30 p.m. at Arizola Road and Carolyn Way in Casa Grande, sending five people to hospitals, including three small children.
Shannon Dippel of Casa Grande saw the T-bone collision occur as she was driving behind the brown Malibu when it was allegedly struck in the driver’s door by the black Scion.
“I was coming from the (Vista Grande High) school and I was a little ways back but there was no one in front of me,” Dippel said. “I was the first car to come up on it. It looked like the Scion was already in the middle when I saw her hit him (in the Malibu).”
Dipple said the brown Malibu was southbound and driven by a man on Arizola Road and the Scion was northbound, turning onto Carolyn Way and driven by a woman.
“When she hit him it flipped the car up. It was completely on its side — two wheels. Then it all slid into the sidewalk. It was my daughter who called 911. We were pulling up as it was happening,” she said.
Dipple said she jumped out of the car to render aid after seeing the crash.
“I do have training, so I thought there may be something I could do. The driver was trapped between the console and the door. The two little ones had no seat belt on. They were thrown straight up. We saw them stand straight up when the car hit,” Dipple said.
When she got to the brown Malibu she said there were two young men in the front seat and the two small children in the back who were injured but conscious.
“When we got to the car, the two babies were standing up and the passenger had jumped out to get one of the babies out because he was bleeding pretty bad. There was a hole in the side of his head — it was a pretty good gash. The driver was scooted over because the door was holding him,” Dipple said.
The driver of the brown Malibu was extricated from the vehicle by Casa Grande firefighters. One of the children was taken to Banner Casa Grande Medical Center for treatment and later flown to a Phoenix hospital by helicopter, according to Casa Grande Police Department spokesman Thomas Anderson.
A second helicopter was placed on standby in Phoenix but it was not used to transport a second patient to Phoenix.
There were two occupants in the black Scion, the female driver and a small child in a car seat, secured in the back seat behind the driver. Both were injured.
Anderson said it was unknown what happened and the collision is under investigation. He said it appears the Scion was turning left onto Carolyn Way when it hit the Malibu.
FLORENCE — Nearly 15 months after he was fired as police chief in Midland, Texas, for allegations of harassment, Steve Henry has returned to a law enforcement role in Pinal County.
Henry was terminated in April 2018, less than four months into the job. According to the Midland Reporter-Telegram, 36 incidents of harassment that ranged from “potentially sexual in nature to sexist” were filed against Henry by a female employee.
On July 1, Henry began working for the Arizona Department of Corrections, serving as the associate deputy warden at Arizona State Prison Complex Florence’s North Unit, ADOC spokesman Andrew Wilder said in an email.
Wilder said Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training certification is not required for the position.
Before taking the job in Texas, Henry was chief deputy (second-in-command) at the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office under former Sheriff Paul Babeu.
When Babeu unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2016, Henry ran for Pinal County sheriff as a Republican. He lost decisively to Mark Lamb in the primary, as Lamb received 62% of the vote to 37% for Henry, a margin of more than 7,000 votes.
Lamb went on to win the general election and took over as sheriff in January 2017.
PinalCentral reached out to Henry, but he declined comment.
CASA GRANDE — Diane Kelly understands first-hand what families go through when a loved one is addicted to drugs. And she hopes a new event, set to coincide with International Overdose Awareness Day, will prevent overdose deaths by helping families find the programs and resources they need to help loved ones fight drug addiction.
“I tried for so long to find help for my son,” Kelly said. “It was the typical story of emotional and financial hardship trying to help him when he’s in and out of jail, rehab and psych wards. It was horrible, always dreading that phone call.”
Casa Grande Overdose Awareness Day is set for Aug. 31. On that day, Compass Christian Church in cooperation with Celebrate Recovery will observe the day by hosting a “Walk to Remember.”
Casa Grande residents may meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Neon Sign Park in downtown Casa Grande. At 9, the group will walk the nearly one mile to Compass Christian Church, where various resource providers and organizations will be on-hand with information about combating drug addiction and preventing overdose.
The event will include food vendors, live music and free narcan (a Naloxone nasal spray that can reverse an opioid overdose) and free training on how to use the medication. A memorial wall will also be available for people to post photos of lost loved ones.
The event is free to attend.
The group also plans to create 1,254 paper butterflies — one to represent each of Arizona’s 1,254 overdose deaths last year — which will be displayed in Peart Park.
Kelly said she understands the struggles families face when a loved one is addicted to drugs because her own son battled drug addiction for decades. He died of an overdose a few years ago.
“My son, Tommy, is now a statistic in the most pressing public health crisis of our time,” she said. “Opioid addiction truly is an epidemic like we’ve never seen before in any of our lifetimes and it’s now taking more lives than automobile accidents.”
In 2017, there were about 70,237 drug overdose deaths nationwide and more than 67% were from opioids, according to Kelly.
“For the first time in 10 years, the 2018 opioid overdose death numbers were down 5% nationwide, but in Arizona, 2018 numbers rose 8% over the previous year,” she said.
Soon after her son’s death, Kelly attended a Celebrate Recovery meeting, a faith-based 12-step recovery program for anyone with an addiction, hurt, pain or other issue.
Now, she serves as the statewide representative for Celebrate Recovery and often tells her story to others.
“The goal of sharing my testimony is to give people hope,” Kelly said.
Celebrate Recovery aims to help with all struggles and issues, including addiction, anger, codependency, eating disorder, food addiction, love and relationships, emotional abuse, gambling and other problems.
“Our family dealt with this for more than 20 years,” she said. “My son, Tommy, was 14 when he first started having chemical addiction issues. For a long time, I never saw it for what it was because he was functioning. He had a job. He had a family, but I knew he had a problem.”
International Overdose Awareness Day is recognized every year on Aug. 31 to raise awareness about overdoses, bring attention to overdoses and to acknowledge and remember those affected by or lost to overdose without shame or stigma.
It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.
“My hope is to prevent overdose deaths by bringing the resources to those who need them,” she said.
Those who would like to partner with the effort or set up an informational booth may contact Kelly at 540-226-8976 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Facebook page for the event is listed under Casa Grande Overdose Awareness.