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School community grieving death of Blue Ridge Junior High athletic director

The Blue Ridge Unified School District will provide grief counseling and support for the school's community.

PINETOP-LAKESIDE, Ariz. — The Blue Ridge Unified School District is mourning the death of one of its school's PE teacher and athletic director after a motorcycle crash Friday night. 

The school district released a statement Saturday morning confirming the death of Frank Girardi, who worked at Blue Ridge Junior High in Pinetop-Lakeside. 

"Our hands and hearts extend to the entire Girardi family, particularly toward Miranda, his wife, and his two children, Gianna and Jet," the statement read. 

Our Blue Ridge hearts break with the sad news of Frank Girardi’s passing. Frank died last night from injuries sustained...

Posted by Blue Ridge Unified School District #32 on Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Navajo County Sheriff's Office said just before 10 p.m., deputies responded to a single motorcycle crash near Sherwood Drive and Forest View Road in Lakeside.

RELATED: 9-year-old girl, 3 adults injured in crash involving semi-truck on eastbound I-10

Authorities said Girardi, 45, was driving the motorcycle, and for unknown reasons, lost control, sending him into a ditch were he came off the motorcycle and received fatal injuries.

EMTs tried performing life-saving measures on Girardi but he was pronounced dead at the hospital, officials said. 

Blue Ridge Junior High will be open from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday for grief counseling and support. 

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Data from the Arizona Department of Transportation shows that roadway fatalities have been gradually rising in Arizona over the last decade: 

  • 2011: 825 deaths  
  • 2012: 821 deaths 
  • 2013: 844 deaths 
  • 2014: 774 deaths 
  • 2015: 895 deaths 
  • 2016: 952 deaths 
  • 2017: 1,000 deaths 
  • 2018: 1,010 deaths 
  • 2019: 982 deaths 
  • 2020: 1,057 deaths

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.