Family petitions BOS for help improving safety on Highway 70 after fatal collision

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Pamela Clonts-Bigler: A drunk driver took the life of Pamela Clonts’ son, David Mitchell Ostberg, left, and her parents, Sharon and Dan Clonts, right, Now the family has started a movement for change called Highway Justice.

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – A movement born out of tragedy continued Monday as friends and family members of Sharon and David Clonts and David Mitchell Ostberg requested assistance from the Graham County Board of Supervisors during its Monday morning meeting.

On 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.

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.      

On Monday, family members Pamela Clonts-Bigler, Lisa Clonts, and Shelia Packer were on hand at the BOS meeting. The women are the daughters of Sharon and David Clonts, and Pamela is David Mitchell Ostberg’s mother. 

Pamela addressed the board and said she felt something positive had to come out of the tragedy. She has since started a campaign titled “Highway Justice” and recently held a community event to help rally the cause of highway safety improvement. During her time at the podium, Pamela displayed a stack of papers she said were petitions from either online or in person that support the group’s attempt for change. She also advised of numerous stories of others about the stretch of road that are up on her website at or will be shortly.

“There are no amount of words that will bring our family back but we knew something good had to come out of something so horrific,” she said. “Our family dynamics will be forever altered but just maybe we can be the driving force for change that will save other families and entire communities from being affected by the loss of lives, injury, and the fact that people are scared to drive that highway and drive all the way around through Tucson.”

Pamela told the BOS that her group is campaigning to have U.S. Highway 70 be constructed into a divided highway between Globe and Pima with additional safety pullouts and shoulders; DUI checkpoints; more law enforcement patrols; and more interagency coordination. 

“So I stand before you today to ask for your help in seeking funds from local, state, and even federal levels to address what we feel must be done to protect the citizens who have elected you to serve and protect the citizens of Graham County.”

After Pamela’s time was completed the board recessed to its normally scheduled work session.

For more information about the movement or to sign the petition visit