Contributed Photo/Courtesy Pamila Clonts-Bigler: A drunk driver took the life of Pamila’s son, David Mitchell Ostberg, left, and her parents, Sharon and David Clonts, right, while traveling through the San Carlos Apache Reservation on U.S. Highway 70. Pamila is looking for others who have been affected by such incidents on the stretch of highway between Pima and San Carlos in an effort to spur positive change so other tragedies could be avoided.
Seeking those who have been affected on Highway 70 between Pima and Globe
We can’t bring our loved ones back. Nor can we bring to justice the people who took our loved ones. But we will fight for justice against the state the reservation and ADOT and any other party that is responsible for the safety of all who cross the reservation so we can all have safe passage on that deadly stretch of road. We’re asking for help from the community to join our fight. If anyone whose lost a loved one or has any information and wants to join our fight, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell your story and provide your contact information.Vic Ostberg (Mitchell’s father) Heather Saline (sister) and Pamila Clonts-Bigler
By Jon Johnson
SAN CARLOS – Pamila Clonts-Bigler, along with Lisa Clonts and Sheila Packer, lost their parents and Pamila’s son in a fatal vehicle collision in which they were struck by a drunk driver while crossing the San Carlos Apache Reservation on U.S. Highway 70. Now Pamila is speaking up in their name to try to help travelers avoid the same tragedy.
Saturday night, April 15, David and Sharon Clonts, both 71, were driving home to the Solomon area with their grandson, David Mitchell Ostberg, 24, after attending a birthday party for the Clonts’ great-granddaughter in the Mesa area when a drunk driver entered their lane and collided with them head-on, killing David and Sharon at the scene.
Mitchell was severely injured and was trapped in the car for hours as firefighters cut the vehicle to free him. After living through that turmoil, he was taken to San Carlos Apache Healthcare and was later flown to HonorHealth Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center but died from his injuries.
“On the flight there he had cardiac arrest multiple times and fractures of his femur and his pelvis, and gashes in his abdomen,” Pamila said. “There was just no – so he died the next morning. He was in that car for hours because they had to cut the roof off. And he was in that car with my parents mangled and it’s like it never happened. You know? It’s like it never happened because they don’t talk about it and they don’t release information and they don’t do anything about it. There needs to be more patrolling. There just has to be something done.”
The driver of the at-fault vehicle and passenger also died from the crash. The driver was reportedly intoxicated.
The crash took place in the Peridot area of milepost 274 just east of San Carlos in a 65 mph zone around 8:35 p.m. and was investigated by the San Carlos Police Department with assistance from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
“That stretch of highway is so dangerous and there are so many people who have lost lives there and loved ones there,” Pamila said. “We’re just heartbroken. There’s not enough patrols that take place there and there’s not enough interagency coordination.”
“The San Carlos (Police), they keep everything hush and tight-lipped and I’m not going to stand for it. I’m going to bring awareness and justice for my family. I mean, I literally lost half my family.”
To wit, she is asking those in the community who have lost a loved one in a vehicle collision along the same stretch of highway to contact her at email@example.com.
Pamila said she has also hired an attorney to have their own investigation into the crash because the information from the San Carlos Police Department is few and far between, although she said they made sure to point out the occupants in the other vehicle were from the White Mountain Apache Tribe and not the local San Carlos Apache Tribe where the collision took place.
On Saturday, April 22, David, Sharon, and Mitchell were laid to rest in a funeral attended by many throughout the Gila Valley.
“They were so loved by the community,” Pamila said. “The outpouring that we had from the community has been tremendous, so I just wanted to make sure that we thanked everyone.”
Pamila is seeking those who have been affected by traveling along U.S. Highway 70 between Globe and Pima “to join forces to try and make a difference.”
“We’re going to see if we can get enough movement going to create a bigger awareness so we can demand a divided highway and more accountability from the various law enforcement agencies and those responsible for our safety on the highway,” she said.
“We have an attorney working to gather information to go after those who are responsible for the highway safety for safe passage across the reservation. There needs to be safe passage for the citizens who pass through there and that’s not being provided.”
Those who would like to respond or for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.