Janet Lee

Janet Lee
Photo:Janet Lee, injured by a taxi partition.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Partition related losses in police cruisers



The number of trooper deaths due to partition impact is astounding. 


"You have officers who survive the trauma of a crash, but they die by fire and that should never happen,"
Clarence Ditlow, president of the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington, D.C., group focused on the U.S. automotive industry which has unsuccessfully tried to get the Crown Victoria recalled after the fiery deaths and injuries of dozens of law enforcement officers around the country.

Researching fallen officers memorial pages reveals numerous deaths by fire after rear-end collisions. 

Most of these officers died because they suffered fatal burn injuries indirectly because of the partition. 

Some (3) survived with the head injury. 

Nearly eighty did not survive. 

We believe the partition is clearly the surface which contacts the back of the head - causing loss of consciousness at the time of impact. 

Unconscious officers remain in burning vehicles and die. 

This must end.


Auxiliary Trooper Truelove was killed when his patrol car was rear ended by a tractor trailer and burst into flames.

Officer Julia was killed when his patrol car was struck by a dump truck while stopped to help a disabled truck. The dump truck struck his patrol car from behind while traveling in the wrong lane of traffic. Officer Julia was killed on impact and the patrol car and the truck were engulfed in flames.

Corporal Paul Sweeney succumbed to injuries and burns received one month earlier when his patrol car was struck from behind and burst into flames.
Trooper Patrick Ambroise was killed when his patrol car was struck from behind while he was stopped on the shoulder of the Florida Turnpike, near Okeechobee Road. A vehicle being driven on the turnpike suddenly veered onto the shoulder and struck Trooper Ambroise's 2006 Crown Victoria from behind, causing it to burst into flames, and trapping him inside.
Deputy Jefferson Davis succumbed to injuries received the previous night in an automobile accident while responding to a burglary-in-progress call. He was responding on County Road 133 when he swerved to avoid three juveniles who were walking against traffic in his lane of travel on the unlit road at 2301 hours. His patrol car left the roadway and struck a pine tree and burst into flames. Deputy Davis received burns over 65% of his body.

Officer Garret Davis was killed in an automobile accident when his patrol car was rear-ended on H-1, near the Kaonohi Street overpass, at approximately 8:20 pm. He had stopped his marked patrol car behind a stalled vehicle on the left shoulder. Before he was able to exit his car it was struck from behind by another vehicle and burst into flames.
Trooper James Sauter was killed when a semi-trailer truck struck his cruiser on Interstate 294 south of Willow Road shortly after 11:00 p.m. The trooper was stopped in the left shoulder of the south-bound lanes when the semi rear-ended his cruiser, causing both vehicles to burst into flames. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
A semi-trailer truck driver, having fallen asleep behind the wheel, slammed into Trooper Skeeters' squad car. Trooper Skeeters' squad car was forced into the IDOT paint truck which was carrying flammable paints and thinners. Both the squad car and paint truck exploded and were engulfed in flames. The three vehicle accident instantly killed Trooper Skeeters. The drivers of both the IDOT truck and the semi-trailer survived the accident.

Investigator Rusnak was about to meet with other officers from his unit to do surveillance on a suspect's home when his vehicle was struck. His vehicle was spun around and pinned against a guardrail. The pickup truck rolled several times after the initial impact, coming to rest on top of Investigator Rusnak's vehicle before both vehicles burst into flames. Investigator Rusnak died due to the fire and massive internal injuries.

Deputy James Abel was killed in an automobile accident while responding to an officer needs assistance call. Deputy Abel struck a patch of ice on Old Alton Road, left the roadway and struck a utility pole. His patrol car caught fire as a result of the impact and Deputy Abel was killed.
Deputy Samuel Smith was killed in an automobile accident on California Road while responding to a domestic disturbance call. His patrol car left the roadway for unknown reasons and struck a tree before bursting into flames.
During his response, Deputy Courville's cruiser struck the back of a pickup truck on I-10. After striking the pickup truck, his cruiser went out control, struck a tree, and caught fire.
Deputy Ratcliff was killed when his cruiser was struck head-on by a vehicle which crossed into his lane. The impact caused both vehicles to burst into flames and both vehicles were burnt beyond recognition. The other driver was killed in the crash as well.
Deputy Heirtzler was killed in a single car accident as he was responding to a fire call. During the response his vehicle struck a cow in the roadway. The cruiser then left the roadway and struck a utility pole, bursting into flames. Efforts to free him by other deputies and citizens failed and he was killed in the ensuring fire.

Trooper Hung Le succumbed to injuries sustained in an accident on May 19, 1998. Trooper Le received burns to over seventy percent of his body, lung and heart damage. His patrol car was struck from behind as he was stopped behind a construction crew, blocking traffic, on I-55. His emergency lights were activated when the accident occurred. The patrol car was pushed into the construction zone and burst into flames. Construction workers and passersby were able to pull him from the wreckage and he was taken to a burn unit in Houston, Texas.

Sergeant John Bagileo was killed in an automobile accident while responding to backup other officers on a call involving a supsect who was tampering with an automobile. As he came around a curve on Martin Luther King Highway, a vehicle pulled out from an intersection and attempted to cross the road. Sergeant Bagileo successfully evaded colliding with the vehicle, but lost control of his patrol car. His vehicle skidded, collided with a utility pole and burst into flames.

Trooper Edward Mahoney was killed when his patrol car was struck from behind while on a motor vehicle enforcement stop on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Trooper Mahoney became trapped in the vehicle and was killed in the ensuing fire.
Officer Schultz was killed in an automobile accident while en route to assist during a vehicle pursuit involving a stolen car. During the response, Officer Schultz's patrol car flipped over and struck a house, causing the car to burst into flames.
Trooper Newton was killed when his patrol car, a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria, was struck from behind while he was making a traffic stop on the shoulder of I-70 near Odessa, Missouri at 0700 hours.  The patrol car burst into flames upon impact and Trooper Newton was trapped inside. The driver of the vehicle he had stopped and the driver of the truck that struck his patrol car were both injured in the accident.
Officer Clark Wooldridge was killed in an automobile accident while responding to a report of a fight caused by a traffic crash. During the response his patrol car collided with another vehicle, overturned, and became engulfed in flames.

Trooper Robert Ambrose was killed in an automobile accident when his patrol car was struck from behind by another vehicle on the shoulder of I-87 in Yonkers at approximately 2035 hours.  Trooper Ambrose was writing an accident report for a minor accident when the driver of a vehicle attempted to switch lanes, struck another vehicle, and then veered onto the shoulder and struck the rear of Trooper Ambrose's Ford Crown Victoria. The vehicle burst into flames and both Trooper Ambrose and the driver of the vehicle that struck him, who was driving on a suspended license, were killed. The fire was so intense that the rounds in Trooper Ambrose's service weapon began to discharge.

Deputy Incardona was killed in an accident while responding to a call of an officer down. His patrol, which was powered by propane fuel, struck a utility pole and erupted into flames.
Police Officer Russell Willingham was killed in an automobile accident while responding to backup another officers at approximately 3:15 am. He was traveling on North Vargrave Street when his patrol car left the roadway and struck a tree. He was able to notify dispatch that he was pinned inside and rescue units were dispatched. Moments later he notified dispatchers that his vehicle had caught fire. When the rescue units arrived the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames.

Officer Michael Jennings was killed when his car slid into a tree and burst into flames as he was driving down a steep hill. His partner was injured in the accident.

Officer Brentar had spotted a speeding motorist on North Lakeland Boulevard, just north of I-90, and was attempting to catch up to the vehicle when his patrol car hydroplaned and the right rear end hit a pole. The patrol car burst into flames, with Officer Brentar trapped inside.

Sergeant Muncy was killed after his patrol car collided with a tractor trailer and burst into flames as he was responding to a call for backup.

Major LeBlanc was killed in an automobile accident on State Route 59 in Ravenna Township. A county truck turned in front of him and his patrol car burst into flames. Several witnesses attempted to help him and were burned when the car exploded.
Trooper Van Krevelen's patrol car went out of control on the U.S. 81 overpass, struck the right-side guard rail and then crossed the roadway and became stuck on the left-side guard rail. The vehicle was suspended over the edge of the overpass. The patrol car burst into flames and burned so hot that rounds from Trooper Van Krevelen's sidearm began to discharge.
Not unlike NY Trooper Ambrose’ bullets.


Deputy Cannon and another deputy were both following a dump truck whose driver was suspected of being involved in an earlier assault. As they approached US 378, Deputy Cannon's patrol car, for unknown reasons, crossed the interstate's median, struck an SUV head-on, and was then struck by a passenger car. The patrol car burst into flames after the second collision.

Lance Corporal Hewitt was killed when his patrol car was struck from behind by a pickup truck on I-95 in Florence County. He was in the process of working an accident scene when the truck veered off the road and struck his vehicle. Both vehicles caught fire, killing Lance Corporal Hewitt and the driver of the truck. A pedestrian was killed and two others injured as a result of the accident.

Deputy Brian Denning was killed in an automobile collision on Long Hollow Pike while returning from a call. His patrol car left the roadway, struck a tree, and burst into flames.
Several passerbys attempted to free him from the vehicle but were unable to do so because of the flames.
Trooper Ross' vehicle was positioned at the rear of the work-zone with its emergency lights flashing when a tractor-trailer struck it from behind. The patrol car immediately flipped over and was engulfed in flames with Trooper Ross inside.
Trooper Javier Arana was killed in an automobile accident as he responded to assist a vehicle pursuit in El Paso at approximately 1:30 am. During the response, Trooper Arana's vehicle collided with a pickup truck near the intersection of Joe Battle Boulevard and Bob Hope Drive. Trooper Arana's patrol car burst into flames upon impact.
Deputy Odell McDuffie was killed in an automobile accident on FM 770 in Saratoga.
He was returning from transporting a juvenile to the Hardin County Detention Center at approximately 1:00 pm when his patrol car left the roadway. He over-corrected, causing the vehicle to strike a grove of trees and burst into flames. Deputy McDuffie suffered severe injuries and died at the scene.
Deputy Robert Harvey was killed in an automobile accident on CR 2500, at East 88th Street, while responding to a fight in progress call. 

The driver of a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction attempted to make a left turn in front of Deputy Harvey's patrol car, and caused a head-on collision. Deputy Harvey was trapped in his patrol car as it became engulfed in flames.
Trooper Matthew Myrick was killed in an automobile accident while responding to an accident call in Deaf Smith County.  He was responding on FM 1259, in Hereford, when his patrol car left the roadway at Main Street and struck a concrete culvert. The patrol car burst into flames upon impact.
Investigator Herman Scott was killed in an automobile accident on FM 31 while responding to a gang-related call. During the response, his vehicle hit a deer and crashed head-on into an oncoming car. His vehicle then burst into flames.
Corporal George Gross was killed in an accident while assisting EMS personnel treating a cardiac arrest victim. Due to a limitation on staff, Corporal Gross was driving the ambulance to the hospital when it was struck by a truck. The vehicle caught fire, trapping him inside. He was freed and transported to a local burn unit where he succumbed to his injuries.

Investigator Chad Carr was killed in an automobile accident on Route 631, near Stanardsville, when his department vehicle collided with a tractor trailer and burst into flames.
Deputy John Sanford was killed in an automobile accident while responding to a disturbance call. Deputy Sanford, along with a second deputy in another vehicle, were responding to a disturbance call shortly after midnight. As they were traveling west on Route 360, the lead deputy encountered a car driving on the wrong side of the highway in a blind curve. The deputy radioed Deputy Sanford to warn him, but Deputy Sanford was unable to avoid the collision, and was struck head-on. Both vehicles burst into flames as a result of the collision. The other deputy was able to free Deputy Sanford from the wreckage, but he died at the scene from his injuries.

Trooper Williams was attempting to stop the vehicle when his cruiser struck a tree and was engulfed in flames. He was taken to a local hospital before being flown to a trauma center with third degree burns over most of his body.
Officer White succumbed to injuries received several days earlier when he was involved in an automobile accident in Haymarket. He was responding to the scene of another accident when his vehicle struck a ditch, overturned, and caught fire.

Ranger Catherine Secor was killed in an automobile accident while en route to the Eastern Region Headquarters. She was riding in the backseat of the vehicle when the driver of a tractor trailer lost control in the wet road conditions and sideswiped the vehicle, causing it to crash and burst into flames. Ranger Secor was trapped inside and died at the scene.
Trooper William Schoenberger succumbed to injuries sustained when his patrol car was struck by a tractor trailer on I-94. He had positioned his patrol car in the right line of the interstate to block traffic as the local fire department attempted to extinguish a car fire.




Lowell Russell TN State Trooper Head injured http://www.statetroopers.org/PFStories/PFS032312.htm




Jason Schechterle Pheonix, AZ Officer burned beyond recognition http://www.autosafety.org/crown-vic-fire-forever-changes-police-officer SURVIVED FIRE



Those who perished in fires (43) are listed first.


    Auxiliary Trooper Edward W. Truelove Connecticut State Police, Connecticut

End of Watch: Friday, November 13, 1992 FIRE


  Patrol Officer Vincent A. Julia    Delaware River and Bay Authority Police Department, Delaware

      End of Watch: Friday, February 9, 1996 FIRE


6.     Corporal Paul John Sweeney   New Castle County Police Department, Delaware

End of Watch: Thursday, November 30, 1972 FIRE


7.     Trooper Patrick Ambroise   Florida Highway Patrol, Florida

End of Watch: Saturday, May 15, 2010 FIRE


8.     Deputy Sheriff Jefferson Hancock Davis     Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Florida

End of Watch: Thursday, May 30, 2002 FIRE


9.     Officer Garret Collin Davis     Honolulu Police Department, Hawaii

End of Watch: Saturday, January 21, 2012 FIRE


10.  Trooper James Sauter  Illinois State Police, Illinois

End of Watch: Thursday, March 28, 2013 FIRE


11. Trooper Bernard D. Skeeters     Illinois State Police, Illinois

      End of Watch: Thursday, May 20, 1982 FIRE


12. Investigator John A. Rusnak     Cook County Sheriff's Police Department, Illinois

           End of Watch: Wednesday, August 3, 1977 FIRE


13. Deputy Sheriff James Robert Abel      Madison County Sheriff's Department, Illinois

End of Watch: Thursday, December 30, 1976 FIRE


14. Deputy Sheriff Samuel Adam Smith      Franklin County Sheriff's Office, Kansas

End of Watch: Friday, July 23, 2010 FIRE


15.Corporal James Ronald Courville St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana

           End of Watch: Tuesday, June 13, 2000 FIRE


16. Deputy Troy Anthony Ratcliff      Assumption Parish Sheriff's Department, Louisiana

End of Watch: Saturday, June 5, 1999 FIRE


17. Deputy Allen Lawrence Heirtzler      East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Department, Louisiana

End of Watch: Friday, September 4, 1998 FIRE


18. Trooper Hung Nguyen Le       Louisiana State Police, Louisiana

End of Watch: Tuesday, June 30, 1998 FIRE


19. Sergeant John Louis Bagileo Prince George's County Police Department, Maryland

End of Watch: Monday, February 28, 1994 FIRE


20. Trooper  Edward A. Mahoney      Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts

End of Watch: Sunday, November 21, 1976 FIRE

21. Police Officer  Brad Lee Schultz, Jr.      Riverview Police Department, Missouri

End of Watch: Tuesday, Dece   mber 14, 2004 FIRE


22. Trooper Micheal Lynn Newton   Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri

End of Watch: Thursday, May 22, 2003 FIRE


23. Police Officer  Clark Anthony Wooldridge       Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Nevada

End of Watch: Sunday, August 12, 1979 FIRE



24. Trooper  Robert Wayne Ambrose  New York State Police, New York

End of Watch: Thursday, December 19, 2002 FIRE


25. Deputy Sheriff   Jeffrey A. Incardona    Niagara County Sheriff's Office, New York

End of Watch: Thursday, July 22, 1993 FIRE

26. Police Officer   Russell Mark Willingham, Jr.   Winston-Salem Police Department, North Carolina
            End of Watch: Saturday, July 30, 2011 FIRE


27. Police Officer   Michael Ray Jennings      Winston-Salem Police Department, North Carolina

End of Watch: Friday, January 29, 1993 FIRE


28. Police Officer  George Brentar    Euclid Police Department, Ohio

End of Watch: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 FIRE


29. Sergeant  Marc Muncy        Columbus Division of Police, Ohio

End of Watch: Wednesday, April 5, 1995 FIRE


30. Major Joseph LeBlanc      Portage County Sheriff's Department, Ohio

             End of Watch: Monday, September 13, 1976 FIRE


31. Trooper Christopher Michael Van Krevelen   Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma

End of Watch: Thursday, November 28, 2002 FIRE

32. Deputy Sheriff Byron Keith Cannon   Richland County Sheriff's Department, South Carolina

End of Watch: Wednesday, May 4, 2005 FIRE


33. Lance Corporal Randall Scott Hewitt    South Carolina Highway Patrol, South Carolina

End of Watch: Sunday, June 23, 1996 FIRE


34. Trooper Lynn McCarthy Ross   Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee

End of Watch: Wednesday, July 26, 2000 FIRE


35. Trooper Javier Arana, Jr.   Texas Department of Public Safety - Texas Highway Patrol, Texas

End of Watch: Saturday, March 24, 2012 FIRE



36. Deputy Sheriff Odell McDuffie, Jr.      Liberty County Sheriff's Department, Texas

End of Watch: Monday, October 25, 2010 FIRE


37. Deputy Sheriff D. Robert Martin Harvey   Lubbock County Sheriff's Department, Texas

End of Watch: Sunday, April 26, 2009 FIRE


38. Trooper Matthew DeWayne Myrick    Texas Department of Public Safety - Texas Highway Patrol, Texas

End of Watch: Friday, January 20, 2006 FIRE


39. Investigator Herman Owen Scott, Jr.  Harrison County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch: Friday, February 8, 2002 FIRE


40. Corporal George Washington Gross, Jr.   Port Isabel Police Department, Texas

End of Watch: Friday, August 15, 1986 FIRE


41. Investigator Chadwick Alan "Chad" Carr   Greene County Sheriff's Office, Virginia

End of Watch: Thursday, June 4, 2009 FIRE


42. Deputy Sheriff John Walter Sanford, Jr.  Northumberland County Sheriff's Office, Virginia

End of Watch: Sunday, June 19, 2005 FIRE


43. Trooper II Daniel Lee Williams   Virginia State Police, Virginia

End of Watch: Sunday, December 12, 1999 FIRE


44. Officer Paul Thomas White, Jr.  Prince William County Police Department, Virginia

End of Watch: Saturday, October 27, 1973 FIRE

45. Park Ranger V Catherine E. Secor   Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Washington

End of Watch: Tuesday, May 9, 2000 FIRE

Head injured, no fire;

Deputy Sheriff John Lewis Burkett, III   Berkeley County Sheriff's Department, West Virginia

End of Watch: Wednesday, January 31, 2001


Trooper III William Schoenberger   Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin

End of Watch: Thursday, April 22, 1993

Alex Del Rio Hollywood, FL police officer killed http://www.odmp.org/officer/19661-police-officer-alex-del-rio

Floyd James Fink Jr. AR Officer Floyd Fink was killed when his patrol car was rear-ended while he was stopped behind another vehicle on the shoulder of U.S. 60 near Tempe, Arizona. 

Corporal Johnny Mack Scarberough Arkansas State Police, Arkansas           
End of Watch: Wednesday, September 2, 1998

Officer Paul Hubertus Pino California Highway Patrol, California

End of Watch: Tuesday, December 30, 2003


Trooper Joseph A. Ynostroza Colorado State Patrol, Colorado

End of Watch: Wednesday, December 6, 1989


Trooper First Class  Kenneth Ray Hall  Connecticut State Police, Connecticut

End of Watch: Thursday, September 2, 2010



Deputy Sheriff Richard Lyn Daniels Twiggs County Sheriff's Office, Georgia

End of Watch: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 


Police Officer Terry Jay Emerick Illinois Commerce Commission Police, Illinois

End of Watch: Wednesday, May 25, 1994

Chief Deputy Sheriff George Oliver Williamson Dickinson County Sheriff's Office, Iowa

End of Watch: Friday, June 8, 1973


Deputy Eric Shane Stafford Edmonson County Sheriff's Office, Kentucky

End of Watch: Wednesday, June 26, 1996

Chief of Police Randy Wells Forest Hills Police Department, Kentucky

End of Watch: Monday, October 29, 2007

Trooper First Class John Edward Sawa Maryland State Police, Maryland

End of Watch: Tuesday, March 10, 1987


Trooper  Larry Eugene Small  Maryland State Police, Maryland

End of Watch: Tuesday, March 10, 1987


Deputy Sheriff Dennis Leo Riley Charles County Sheriff's Office, Maryland

End of Watch: Tuesday, January 11, 1977


Trooper  Ellen E. Engelhardt  Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts

End of Watch: Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Amanda Dorcas Anna   New York State Police, New York

End of Watch: Saturday, May 26, 2012

Trooper   Thomas F. Hudson   New York State Police, New York

End of Watch: Tuesday, November 26, 1985

Probation / Parole Officer II   Jeffrey Lynn "Jeff" Settle   North Carolina Department of Correction - Division of Community Corrections, North Carolina

End of Watch: Thursday, August 4, 2011



Master Trooper   Calvin E. Taylor   North Carolina Highway Patrol, North Carolina

End of Watch: Wednesday, October 3, 2001


Trooper  David Harold Dees   North Carolina Highway Patrol, North Carolina

End of Watch: Sunday, April 4, 1999


Officer   Jackie Lamont Daniel    North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles Enforcement Section, North Carolina

End of Watch: Thursday, July 28, 1994


Trooper  Robert Perez, Jr.  Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio

End of Watch: Monday, May 15, 2000


Chief Deputy Sheriff   George H. Allen   Cleveland County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina

End of Watch: Wednesday, September 4, 1974

Deputy Sheriff  Richard Dean Harmon  Stark County Sheriff's Office, Ohio

End of Watch: Thursday, September 3, 1981

Trooper Scott Alan Lyons  Oregon State Police, Oregon

End of Watch: Tuesday, September 2, 1997


Trooper Matthew R. Bond   Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania

End of Watch: Friday, January 14, 2000

Deputy Sheriff Brian DeWayne Denning   Sumner County Sheriff's Department, Tennessee

End of Watch: Monday, December 8, 2008


Policeman Clifford Riddle    Tullahoma Police Department, Tennessee

End of Watch: Thursday, January 1, 1987
Sergeant James E. Faraone   Salt Lake City Police Department, Utah

End of Watch: Tuesday, September 18, 2001


Trooper Randy K. Ingram  Utah Highway Patrol, Utah

End of Watch: Wednesday, October 5, 1994Deputy Sheriff Lester Dewayne Tatum   Trinity County Sheriff's Department, Texas

End of Watch: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 FIRE?


Lieutenant Robert Duane "Bob" Haley   Comanche County Sheriff's Department, Texas

End of Watch: Thursday, October 28, 2004


Deputy Sheriff Jesus A. Garza, Jr.   Bexar County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch: Friday, December 26, 2003


Corrections Officer John Murphy Bennett   Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas

End of Watch: Thursday, July 17, 2003

Deputy Sheriff Charles Allen VanMeter    Brazoria County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch: Sunday, June 26, 2011

Officer Timothy Joseph Zurovetz   Forest Hill Police Department, Texas

End of Watch: Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Police Officer Mark Steven Simmons  Amarillo Police Department, Texas

End of Watch: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 


Trooper Eduardo Chavez   Texas Department of Public Safety - Texas Highway Patrol, Texas

End of Watch: Tuesday, May 2, 2006



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