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Tribal council members die in separate car crashes

The unrelated crashes happened in Arizona and Washington state

Two tribal leaders lost their lives in separate April car crashes.

A Hopi tribal council member in Arizona has died of injuries suffered in a car crash earlier this month, tribal officials said Wednesday. Separately, a Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe council member was killed in an unrelated car crash in Washington state, according to the tribe.

First Mesa Consolidated Villages leaders said Wallace Youvella Sr. died Tuesday in a Scottsdale hospital. Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe council member Kurt Grinnell died Tuesday evening.

"Kurt was a hard-working, generous and kind person; he was dedicated to his family and Jamestown community," Chairman and CEO W. Ron Allen said in a statement Thursday. "Kurt's steadfast leadership throughout the pandemic helped our tribe immensely, he will be missed in ways that words cannot express."

No other details were released on the crash. 

Youvella and his son Wallace Youvella Jr., also a tribal council member, were headed to an April 8 meeting in Phoenix to join other Hopi council members and business consultants and discuss potential economic development projects.

Tribal officials said the car carrying Youvella and his son was struck by an oncoming vehicle near Payson.

The younger Youvella suffered injuries that weren’t life threatening and was released from the hospital a few days later.

The First Mesa leadership has scheduled an April 28 memorial service for the elder Youvella at the old Polacca Day School court area.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report