Dever's death was confirmed early Wednesday by the sheriff's department. The department declined to release details of the crash or his death.
September 19, 2012
The sheriff died just four days after his 86-year-old mother, Annie Mae Dever, died of cancer.
Dever was first elected to his post as the head of the county's law enforcement agency in 1996, and was last re-elected in 2008. He joined the agency as a deputy in 1976, according to the sheriff's department website.
He entered the national spotlight as one of Arizona's four border sheriffs who asked to legally defend the state's controversial anti-illegal immigration law, known as SB1070, in federal court. Cochise County, in the state's southeastern corner, shares an 83.5-mile border with Mexico and is one of the state's hot spots for illegal immigration and drug smuggling.
He said at the time that the federal government was failing to secure the border and praised the law, which includes provisions that require police to question a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws and if officers suspect the person is in the county illegally.
"If the federal government had been doing and would continue to do its job in securing the border here in southern Arizona, this would not be an issue. Unfortunately, they failed to do that, so Arizona stepped up and said, `We want to be partners. Here's a role we think we can play,"' Dever told The Associated Press earlier this year.