Sgt. John M. Blaser, 36
End of Watch: August 31, 1990
Sgt. Blaser died after being transported to a Tucson-area hospital. He was the first DPS line supervisor to die in the line of duty. The driver, James B. Sheets, was found guilty July 18, 1991, of manslaughter and reckless endangerment by a Pima County Superior Court jury. In September 1991, a judge ordered Sheets to serve 9-year sentences on each of the two manslaughter counts and three years for reckless endangerment. The sentences were to run consecutively. Sheets died May 21, 1997, at St. Mary’s Hospital of natural causes at the age of 52.
Twenty-nine Arizona Highway Patrol/Department of Public Safety officers gave their lives in the line of duty. These brave heroes and their families are in the hearts and minds of all who worked with them, of those who follow in their footsteps and of the public whom they served.
Of the 29 deaths, eight were the result of murder, 17 were traffic related, two died in a helicopter crash, one died in a helicopter accident, and one killed when a train exploded.