1969 marked the beginning of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. This change came as a recommendation from the then governor who said to, “assemble state-level law enforcement activities into a single, effective governmental unit.” It consolidated the functions and responsibilities of the Arizona Highway Patrol, the Enforcement Division of the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control, and the Narcotics Division of the Arizona Department of Law. With this also came The Digest, the Department’s very own publication featuring stories about the Department and its employees.  


Down the Highways Digest 1970Now, in 2019, we celebrate 50 years of the Department and take a look back at notable accomplishments, unfortunate tragedies and feel good stories from the years, or as we like to say, from Down the Highways. Sit back and take the road trip through history with us; once a week we will post a feature story, exactly as it appeared within the respective Digest publication, from the last 50 years, starting in 1969 all the way up to 2019.


1970: In this week’s entry we look back and pay homage to Highway Patrolman Gib Duthie, who died on September 6, 1970. The below story was featured on the front page of the Vol. VI, No. 9, September 1970 issue of The Digest.



Memorial to Gib Duthie

At 7:01 a.m., September 6, 1970, Patrolman Gilbert Andrew Duthie was located in his patrol car. His patrol car was caught in the flood waters and washed three quarters of a mile down Sycamore Creek near Sunflower on State Route 87. (Payson Highway)

Gib was last heard from at 7:17 p.m., September 5, as he was northbound from Shea Boulevard on State Route 87 to check road and weather conditions and the Sunflower store which was reportedly washed away. The bridge over Sycamore Creek had washed out. As the flood water began to recede, Gib was found pinned inside the torn and mangled remains of his patrol car.

Gib was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, October 14, 1930, of American parents and moved with his parents to New Mexico in 1936 then to Arizona in 1946. He served in the U.S. Navy from October 10, 1948, to October 27, 1952, when he was honorably discharged. He joined the Arizona Highway Patrol on June 14, 1960, and was stationed in Mesa.

He is survived by his wife Joyce, and six children, Julie 18 years, Gilbert 16 years, Lisa 15 years, Annette 13 years, Lori 10 years, and Scott 4 years, also by his mother Vida Farr, from Mesa, a brother, Joe Duthie, from Douglas and a sister, Mrs. Tom (Bonnie) McFarland from Artesia, New Mexico.”


Check back every week to see where we make our next stop in history from Down the Highways! Next week’s stop: 1971!


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