This is in response to the article on the Rawlings tragic case in Gila County Superior court. I was upset when I read that the Prosecutors are petitioning the courts not to allow for evidence to be put forth showing that for years and years, due to the lack of a bridge, the residences on the east side of Tonto Creek, growing use to the trauma of the seasonal flooding, and in desperation to get to work, school, grocery store or the doctor would cross when flooded. Some residence bought high clearance vehicles so that school children could get to school.

Did they ask for a bridge? Yes they did since the late 1970’s the residences of Tonto Basin have petition the Government both State and Federal for a bridge that would traverse the Tonto Creek connecting both sides of the community.

I became involved with the issue of the bridge as a State Senator representing that area since 2008. Complicating the issue was the listing of the Willow Fly Catcher as an endangered species now involving more federal and state agencies in the application of the bridge.

Government was first established by the people to protect their liberties and the health and safety of their communities. Infrastructure of roads and bridges are a Constitutional duty of elected officials. Tax revenue determines which projects get funding and which don’t. Projects in more populated areas always win out over rural Arizona. Federal dollars were appropriated for study of the bridge to get through the red tape, but we could never get the bridge built. However, as I understand it that has now changed with a Federal appropriation for the Tonto Bridge. But it took over THIRTY YEARS!

Many of us when we see a sign that says “do not cross when flooded” weight their chances against the need to cross. I have done it myself many times living in rural Arizona.

Spending tens of thousands of tax payer dollars in prosecuting the Rawlings is not useful, productive, or making the public safer from drugs or crime. But, I do know this; there are two parents who live everyday with the hell of what happened. They deserve our compassion, support and understanding, but for the “Grace of God” it could be us.

Sylvia Allen

Former District 6 State Senator,


(10) comments


Sylvia, you were in a position to build the bridge for thirty years. Why didn’t you build it? You failed.

Bob Smith

Why would people move into an area which is cut off by seasonal flooding and then demand someone else pay for a bridge? Fixing someone else's problems due to their poor choices isn't exactly the "pull yourself up by the bootstraps " philosophy that our representatives extoll.


What was needed was motorists who obey the flooded barricades. They are there for a reason. Gila County Sheriff even verbally told them not to cross because it was too dangerous.


The only "should have" here is the parents should have not recklessly endangered their children.


And the cost of the bridge will be at least 24 million dollars. And the name of the structure should be "THE BRIDGE FOR STUPID PEOPLE".


The land owners on that side of Tonto Creek should have and now should form a bridge construction district and have their tax dollars pay for a bridge. The rest of the state tax payers should not be footing the bill for a bridge that serves only a few select residents. They are already jacking up the price of land in that area in anticipation of a bridge. Don't cross when flossed and barricades are up.


(Spending tens of thousands of tax payer dollars in prosecuting the Rawlings is not useful, productive, or making the public safer from drugs or crime.)

Well it did not have to be this way had the adults not driven around barracaides and also being told by authorities not to drive around them.

I am not in favor of me paying for a bridge that I will never use.


Sylvia, you want the truth? You can't handle the truth. Their blood is on your hands, you were a huge failure as a Senator..The truth will set you free though...


According to county documents this bridge was to be built somewhere around 1 year from May 23rd 1977

Addressed to:

Mrs. Virginia La Rue


Mrs. Helyn Conway

Lets talk about all this shall we!


Accidents happen

most can be prevented

especially when told to do so

accountability bites if you ignored heeded warning over and over...

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