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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Asta refuses to take responsibility for tragedy

Tucson Republican mayoral candidate Ron Asta, a former member of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, is one of six Tucsonans vying for the city’s chief executive office. His apparent disregard for the law has made him the subject of sharp criticism since he announced his candidacy in February. The 69-year-old real estate consultant’s rap sheet rivals those of most juvenile delinquents.

His numerous transgressions include over a dozen traffic violations and an embarrassing 1978 shoplifting incident involving a steak stuffed into a pair of pants. The most damning skeleton in Asta’s closet belongs to Jennifer Reeves, an 18-year-old about to start her senior year of high school whose life was taken in a fatal car accident in 1994.

Reeves and her cousin, Rebecca Russ, were headed north on the Interstate 10 frontage road when Asta collided with their vehicle, launching it 60 feet into the intersection. Asta, after purportedly checking on the injured passengers, left the scene of the accident on foot to retrieve the insurance information for the loaner vehicle he was driving. Russ, who was knocked unconscious from the impact, said she awoke to find her dead cousin, Jennifer, lying on top of her. Asta was nowhere to be found. After returning nearly an hour later, Asta was cited for a failure to yield and was charged a $55 fine. He had once again neglected to stop at a stop sign, and this time it resulted in the death an innocent girl. The measly $55 citation hardly compensated for the devastation that befell the Reeves family. Asta, who wanted the ticket expunged from his record, then lied on his traffic school form, stating that he had not been involved in a deadly crash. His little fib was grounds for perjury, but he has yet to face prosecution.

Asta, now an embattled mayoral candidate, kicked off his campaign by apologizing for shoplifting a steak and hiding it in his pants, but made no mention of his involvement in the traffic accident that took Jennifer’s life. To add insult to injury, he then released a television ad in which he paints himself as the victim and blames Jennifer’s death on the fact that she was “”speeding,”” a claim that is not supported by the official police report. Jennifer’s sister, Jessica Reeves Foster, issued a harsh statement in response to Asta’s ad: “”Please drop out of the race. You are a liar. We should not have to see your face or hear your voice again.””

Asta’s candidacy has forced the grieving Reeves family to relive the painful loss of their daughter. He has extended his condolences, but refused to accept full responsibility for what took place on that day in 1994. Asta’s questionable integrity is unbecoming of a higher office and he should pull out of the mayoral race immediately.

Nyles Kendall is a political science senior. He can be contacted at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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