CASA GRANDE — A recent high-speed chase involving a vehicle that fled from a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint and crashed into a block wall is drawing attention to a dangerous curve that has a history of vehicle crashes on South Florence Street.
On April 3, Border Patrol agents requested assistance from Casa Grande Police officers in stopping a vehicle that nearly hit a Border Patrol agent when it ran a checkpoint south of town, said Casa Grande Police Chief Mark McCrory. Casa Grande officers never got a chance to be involved in the chase. Before Casa Grande officers could reach it, they heard a loud crash and saw dust in the air in the 300 block of South Florence Street.
The driver of the vehicle which was traveling north on Chuichu Road, which turns into South Florence Street just outside of Casa Grande, failed to negotiate a curve in the road near East Ash Avenue.
The vehicle struck two stop signs before crashing into a block wall that encircled a home at the northwest corner of South Florence Street and East Third Avenue, McCrory said. The car was unoccupied when Casa Grande officers arrived at the scene. Pinal County Sheriff’s deputies found the driver a short time later.
The man at first requested medical help but then refused treatment and transport by Casa Grande Fire Department and American Medical Response ambulance personnel, McCrory said.
“Based on the possibility of injury and him not being accepted at jail, he was not arrested at the time,” McCrory said.
The department plans to submit felony charges for criminal damage, leaving the scene of an accident and no proof of insurance to the Pinal County Attorney’s Office for review, he said.
The city has looked at ways to reduce the risk of high-speed accidents in that area after an accident several years ago, Casa Grande Public Works Director Kevin Louis said.
At that time, city staff worked with Pinal County Public Works staff to change the speed limit signs along the roadway and install a “reduced speed limit ahead” sign, he said.
“Staff had to work with Pinal County Public Works staff because the city limit is the dip in the road just south of East Date Avenue on South Florence Street,” Louis said.
All of the speed limit signs that needed to be changed were located in the county. The curve is related to the fact that downtown streets run on an angle because the town originally was laid out in relation to the railroad tracks.
Louis said developers in the area are considering putting in a traffic circle at the East Ash Avenue and Florence Street intersection.
“We will support that effort and attempt to get that constructed with that development,” he said.
CASA GRANDE — With a mail-in election just around the corner, Mayor Craig McFarland hosted a 2030 General Plan town hall Wednesday for the public to ask panelists questions.
Panelists of the town hall were Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission Robert Miller, Planning and Development Director Paul Tice and Terri Sue Rossi from Arizona Water Company.
“The 2030 General Plan lays the groundwork for land use and growth in the city of Casa Grande for the next 10 years,” McFarland said. “It addresses issues with guiding principles in a few key areas.”
According to the city’s website, the 2030 General Plan does not deviate significantly from the current plan. However, some refinements include identifying the amount of water needed to support the growth along with creating a new downtown land use category.
“From my perspective, I feel like this plan does an excellent job of balancing water resources for existing residents and businesses and for planning for the future,” Rossi said.
According to Rossi, water has been an issue for Arizona since before it was a state.
Earlier this month, the city announced a partnership with Arizona Water Company to build a comprehensive demand management program that helps to achieve General Plan goals.
During the town hall, the panel discussed re-energizing the downtown area through the 2030 General Plan.
“It’s really giving areas like downtown some special opportunities for new development in ways that we’ve never been able to before,” Miller said.
Residents can expect to see a ballot in the mail beginning as early as April 21.
The 2030 General Plan will not increase taxes and is not a school bond issue or a tax increase issue.
“If you wait until the 18th, then you will have to go to one of the locations in the county to drop off the ballot,” McFarland said. Drop-off sites include the Pinal County Recorder’s Office in Casa Grande or Florence.
Other principles of the 2030 General Plan include honoring and preserving the rural and agricultural heritage of Casa Grande and strengthening Casa Grande’s position as the industrial and commercial center of Pinal County.