Yarnell community begs for changes after woman hit, killed by Yavapai sergeant

The community of Yarnell is calling for changes to Highway 89 after a Yavapai County Sheriff's sergeant hit and killed a woman.
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 8:13 PM MST
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YARNELL, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- The community center in Yarnell was packed with standing room only Thursday afternoon. Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes, an ADOT official, and community members packed the place to have a meeting after a deadly crash last week.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office says Sgt. Dakota Brinkley was driving home from his shift last Friday night when he hit and killed Donna Gordon as she crossed Highway 89. YCSO says Brinkley pulled over and called for help, but Gordon died at the scene.

Gordon served on the Yarnell Fire Board. The chairman of the board, Arlon Rice, said she was a giver and would help anyone when she could. “She made an imprint not only on our community but on generations of children she taught. We are her family, the fire department was her family, and we will stay with her until she is put to rest,” he said.

Rhodes called for a community meeting to discuss the crash and answer people’s questions. A pastor started the meeting with a moment of silence to honor Gordon. Afterward, the sheriff made a statement, and dozens of people asked questions and shared their concerns about the safety around Highway 89.

Some people speaking said they’ve been asking for a crosswalk right at the intersection of 89 and Post Street for years. Some people were frustrated those requests have been denied so far. Rhodes even mentioned he has heard about the want for a crosswalk for a couple of years.

Others said more signs or extra deputies could help slow drivers down. Most people agreed speeding is the biggest problem for pedestrians. Rhodes said they will have more speed enforcement in Yarnell moving forward. ADOT says they will work with their engineers to find the best solutions. Some people think lower speed limits could work too.

Rhodes said Brinkley is on paid administrative leave. DPS is now investigating the crash. So far, there are no signs that the sergeant was speeding, driving impaired or distracted.