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State Sen. Chester Crandell Found Dead

Courtesy photo

A state senator was found dead Monday on a Navajo County ranch, the possible victim of a horseback riding accident. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Jim Molesa, the county’s chief deputy, said 68-year-old Chester Crandell of Heber had gone riding Monday morning on the Despain Ranch.

“He was only supposed to be gone an hour. He did ride a horse that was new to him. It's described to us as a younger colt,” Molesa said.

Molesa said when Crandell didn’t return after about an hour, family members went searching for him. He said they found the senator dead on the ground at about 2 p.m., not far from the trail he was supposed to be on.

“It could be an accident but we’re pulling out all the stops to make sure we don't expect any foul play or anything like that,” Molesa said.

Crandell was known for a few high-profile measures, including one vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer to allow privately minted gold and silver coins and bouillon to be recognized as legal tender. It’s too late to replace him on the Republican primary ballot where he was unopposed. But, state law apparently allows people to run as write-in candidates to become the GOP nominee for the general election. That person will face off in November against independent Tom O’Halleran.

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