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Woman accused in deadly San Tan Valley crash had BAC more than 3 times legal limit, officials say

Janelle Littlebear, 38, was booked into the Pinal County Jail for two counts of second-degree murder.

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. — Authorities say a woman's blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit during a crash that killed two people in San Tan Valley Saturday afternoon. 

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to the crash near Gantzel Rd. near Empire Rd. around 4:45 p.m. 

PCSO said Janelle Littlebear, 38, was traveling northbound on Gantzel when she failed to negotiate a curve, crossed the median, and crashed into an oncoming vehicle headed southbound.

The driver and the passenger of the second vehicle, 78-year-old Richard Hanson and 78-year-old Kathleen Franta, were killed in the crash, according to PCSO.

Littlebear sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to the hospital. A test showed Littlebear's blood alcohol content was .271, which is more than three times Arizona's legal limit of .08.

On Tuesday, Littlebear was booked into the Pinal County Jail for two counts of second-degree murder.

"This tragic loss of life is senseless and entirely preventable," said Sheriff Mark Lamb. "Our hearts go out to the victims' families." 

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Driving Safety Tips

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) offers driving tips to help keep people safe on the road. 

"There’s always room for improvement when it comes to road safety," the department said on its website. 

ADOT's suggestions include: 

  • Don’t speed or drive aggressively 

  • Never drive while under the influence of substances 

  • Avoid distractions while driving 

  • Wear your seatbelt and make sure all passengers are doing the same 

  • When an emergency vehicle is on the side of the road, move over 

  • Stay extra aware in work zones 

  • Be prepared for weather conditions that make driving dangerous 

Find more tips on the department's Driving Safety Homepage on ADOT's website here. 

"Real-time highway conditions are available on ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, by calling 511, downloading the AZ 511 app and through ADOT’s Twitter feed, @ArizonaDOT," the department said. 

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