Survival Homicide 1 Fatalities

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This is not a complete list. If cause of death was listed as an accident and not a boat accident it was not further researched. If cause was listed as natural, there was no research done to see if it was the result of some type of water rescue.

As many facts that were readily available are listed. The information was obtained from newspaper clips, the American Police Hall of Fame web site, and Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial web site,

Prepared by Patrolman Kenneth W. Balfrey, Dover Township Police Department, Toms River, NJ on March 10, 1998


Ptl. Charles J. Yodkins, Sr.

Farmington Police Department

Farmington, CT

Ptl. Yodkins drowned during a rescue mission on August 19, 1955.


Sgt. Kieffer C. Burris

Kansas City Police Department

Kansas City, MO

Sgt. Burris died on July 15, 1960 in a diving accident while practicing techniques.


Ptl. Herbert E. Bybee

Kansas City Police Department

Kansas City, MO

Ptl. Bybee died on July 15, 1960 in a diving accident while practicing techniques.


Game Protector Benning W. De La Mater

NY Department of Environmental Conservation

Albany, NY

Game Protector Benning De La Mater was drowned June 24, 1961.


Ptl. Robert G. Beghtol

26 years old

Arvada Police Department

Arvada, CO

Ptl. Beghtol drowned on July 28, 1961 during a scuba training exercise.


Chief Angelo J. Leontti

Long Beach Township Police Department

Long Beach Island, NJ

Chief Angelo J. Leontti of the Long Beach Township Police Department, NJ and the police commissioner drowned on March 6, 1962, after the truck they were driving in was struck by a large wave during a storm.


Sheriff Ralph Hansen

Ransom County Sheriff's Department

Lisbon, ND

Sheriff Hansen drowned on May 5, 1962 while attempting to rescue a 13-yr. old boy from the Sheyenne River.


Ptl. Kenneth Couch

61 years old

New Milford Police Department

New Milford, CT

Ptl. Kenneth Couch drowned April 10 1963 while attempting to save the life of a 13-year-old boy.


Dep. Frederick C. Scheberies

27 years old

Kern Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Bakersfield, CA

Deputy Sheriff Frederick Scheberies died January 11, 1964, when he fell 300 feet while crossing an ice covered waterfall on a rescue mission.


Sgt. Amos Cox

38 years old

Brevard Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Titusville, FL

Sgt. Cox drowned during a rescue mission on August 2, 1965.


Dep. Charles Scott

32 years old

Dutchess Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Poughkeepsie, NY

Deputy Scott died on March 31, 1966, when while investigating a drowning in the Hudson River the boat in which he was riding, capsized, and he was drowned.


Marine Insp. George Mullikin

MD Dept. of Natural Resources

Annapolis, MD

Marine District Inspector George T. Millikin died from a heart attack on April1, 1966, while diving on duty.


Off. Ronald D. Rotruck

Akron Police Dept.

Akron, OH

Off. Rotruck drowned on July 23, 1966 during a rescue attempt.


Capt. James W. Parr

35 years old

FL Dept. of Corrections

Tallahassee, FL

Capt. Parr was drowned August 11, 1966, while pursuing an escapee across a canal.


Off. Donald T. Welp

OR State Police

Salem, OR

Off. Welp was on boat patrol on November 15, 1967 when his boat swerved and he was thrown out and drowned.


Game Warden Lloyd Gustin

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Austin, TX

Game Warden Gustin drowned when trapped in a boat on March 25, 1968.


Officer David A. McKee

Fort Atkinson Police Department

Fort Atkinson, WI

Officer McKee drowned on April 9, 1968 while attempting a rescue.


Capt. Donny E. Ashley

Pontiac Police Department

Pontiac, MI

Capt. Ashley died on July 3, 1968 when he drowned during a search.


Sgt. Norman G. Vezina

38 years old

Smithfield Police Department

Smithfield, RI

Sergeant Norman G. Vezina drowned December 10, 1968, while attempting to rescue a 5-year old boy who had fallen through thin ice.


Off. Roger L. McClung

32 years old

Virginia Beach Police Dept.

Virginia Beach, VA

Off. McClung drowned on December 19, 1968 in a diving accident.


Off. Robert R. Monette

25 years old

Virginia Beach Police Dept.

Virginia Beach, VA

Off. Monette drowned in a diving accident on December 19, 1968.


Dep. Chester Larson

34 years old

Ventura Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Ventura, CA

Dep. Larson drowned on January 20, 1969 during a rescue attempt.


Res. Dep. Charles D. Rea

Los Angeles Co. Sheriff's Dep.

Monterey Park, CA

Res. Dep. Rea drowned on January 26, 1969 during a rescue attempt.


Off. James E. Collard

29 years old

Monterey Police Dept.

Seaside, CA

Off. Collard drowned on April 20, 1969 while trying to rescue the occupant of an overturned boat.


Ptl. Robert C. Goodrich

56 years old

Wooster Police Dept.

Wooster, OH

Ptl. Goodrich drowned on July 5, 1969 when his boat capsized. Ptl. Goodrich was attempting to rescue citizens from floodwaters. Sgt. Paul Knisely also drowned in the accident.


Sgt. Paul H. Knisley

30 years old

Wooster Police Dept.

Wooster, OH

Sgt. Knisely drowned on July 5, 1969 when his boat capsized. Sgt. Knisely was attempting to rescue citizens from floodwaters. Ptl. Robert Goodrich also drowned in the accident.


Ptl. Ronald E. Leist

30 years old

Algoma Police Dept.

Algoma, WI

Patrolman Ronald E. Leist drowned October 9, 1969 while attempting to save to persons who had been washed off the pier.


Ptl. Gilbert A. Duthie

39 years old

AZ Dept. of Public Safety

Phoenix, AZ

Patrolman Gilbert A. Duthie died September 5, 1970, when his patrol car ran off the road where the bridge had washed away, into a flooded creek where he was drowned.


Trpr. James W. McNeely

37 years old

KY State Police

Frankfort, KY

Trpr. McNeeley drowned in a boating accident on April 8, 1972 while attempting a rescue.


Res. Off. Daniel E. Wickard

Rapid City Police Dept.

Rapid City, SD

Reserve Officer Daniel E. Wickard drowned June 9, 1972 while working to warn others of an impending flood. 237 others died in the flooding.


Safety Dir. Gordon F. Hufnagle

60 years old

Lewisburg Police Dept.

Lewisburg, PA

Safety Director Hufnagle drowned attempting to rescue others during a flood on June 21, 1972.


Off. Leo Van Winkle

Philadelphia Police Dept.

Philadelphia, PA

Off. Van Winkle drowned on a rescue mission during a flood on June 22, 1972.


Off. Dana Harwood

Washington Metro Police Dept.

Washington, DC

Off. Harwood drowned on September 25, 1972 while working harbor patrol.


Wildlife Off. James L. Cook

32 years old

FL Dept. of Game and Fish

Tallahassee, FL

Wildlife Officer Sergeant James L. Cook drowned December 8, 1972, while on routine water patrol.


Off. Gary W. Fraid

33 years old

Kenosha Police Dept.

Kenosha, WI

Off. Friad drowned on June 7, 1973 while on a practice swim with the department's SCUBA team.


Dep. Terry L. Greer

32 years old

Kern Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Bakersfield, CA

Dep. Greer drowned on August 7, 1973 while searching a canal for a possible drowning victim.


Sgt. Elias Sanchez Enriquez

32 years old

CA State Police

Sacramento, CA

Sgt. Enriquez drowned in the California Aqueduct on January 23, 1974, while on patrol. Sgt. Enriquez had been walking along the Aqueduct when he slipped and fell in.


Lakes Off. William L. Stewart, Jr.

Oklahoma City Police Dept.

Oklahoma City, OK

Lakes Officer William C. Stewart, Jr. was drowned May 17, 1974.


Rsv. Dep. Charles J. Banning

37 years old

Kern Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Bakersfield, CA

Rsv. Dep. Banning died on October 23, 1974 shortly after recovering the body of a drowning victim from a canal. He may have been the victim of a heart attack.


Off. Jose M. Valentin

28 years old

Puerto Rico Police Dept.

Aguadilla, PR

Off. Valentin drowned on May 4, 1975, while attempting to rescue two people from a river.


Lt. Harold R. Berg

38 years old

Oregon State Police

Salem, OR

Lt. Berg drowned on May 10, 1975 while on duty.


Off. Michael O. Conley

Estes Park Police Dept.

Estes Park, CO

Off. Conley drowned on July 31, 1976 while attempting to rescue others from the Big Thompson Canyon Flood.


Rsv. Dep. Jim L. Epp

Maricopa Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Phoenix, AZ

Rsv. Dep. Epp drowned while attempting a rescue on March 1, 1978.


Ptl. Robert A. Hutchinson

27 years old

Monroe Police Dept.

Monroe, MI

Ptl. Hutchinson drowned on June 28, 1978 while attempting a rescue.


PFC Marvin R. Owen

259th Military Police Co.

White Sands, NM

PFC Owen drowned during a rescue attempt on August 19, 1978.


Ptl. Alvin P. Williams

52 years old

Woodbridge Police Dept.

Woodbridge, NJ

Officer Alvin P. Williams was drowned in Sucker Brook, September 6, 1979, while attempting to rescue two children caught in a swift current caused by a recent storm. He was sucked 900’ into a culvert under a parking lot.


Sgt. Wilfred Doyle

Philadelphia Police Dept.

Philadelphia, PA

Sgt. Doyle drowned on December 21, 1979 when his car went into a river while responding to a call.


Warden Wallace M. Pack

TX Dept. of Criminal Justice

Huntsville, TX

Warden Pack drowned on April 4, 1981 while trying to subdue an inmate.


Off. Rodney C. Bonney

32 years old

Auburn Police Dept.

Auburn, ME

Off. Bonney drowned on April 6, 1981, when he and his partner officer responded to a report that a teenager had fallen off his bicycle while crossing a railroad trestle and fallen into the icy waters of the river. The victim officer reached the teenager but had difficulty controlling him since he was resisting. The partner tried to rescue both but failed. The bodies of both the victim officer and teenager were found the next day.


Det. William Whitehead

Jacksonville Police Dept.

Jacksonville, NC

Det. Whitehead drowned on May 28, 1981 after abduction.


Ptl. Larry A. Holder

33 years old

Algonquin Police Dept.

Algonquin, IL

Ptl. Holder drowned on July 22, 1982 after he was swept away in a swift stream that had become flooded after a torrential rainstorm. He was trying to save a man who had fallen into the stream.


Off. Ricky A. LaFollette

30 years old

Louisville Division of Police

Louisville, KY

Officer Ricky A. LaFollette drowned August 18, 1983, while training with the Department Scuba Team. Victim officer and several fellow officers were participating in a training exercise at a lake in lower central KY. All were experienced scuba divers and members of Louisville PD Scuba Team. The dive was in total darkness utilizing new underwater communications gear. The victim officer failed to surface when his air supply was low and did not respond to radio communications. He was found later at a depth of 100’. It is believed he went down in the darkness instead of up and drowned.


Dep. Bruce Mettler

Ottowa Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Port Clinton, OH

Dep. Mettler drowned on December 9, 1983 due to hypothermia.


Lt. Robert T. Hicks

35 years old

Middlesex Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Saluda, VA

Lieutenant Robert T. Hicks was drowned May 20, 1984, when the patrol vehicle he was driving was involved in a traffic accident and went of the bridge.


Off. Ronald J. Siver

Rochester Police Dept.

Rochester, NY

Off. Siver drowned on August 19, 1984 during a scuba dive. The victim officer and other members of the police department scuba squad were assisting local sheriff’s officers in an attempt to locate the body of a man who drowned as a result of a boating accident. The victim officer suffered unknown problems while at 75’ and drowned.


Dep. Winfield S. Edie

29 years old

Chelan Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Wenatchee, WA

Dep. Edie drowned on November 24, 1984 in a scuba accident. The victim officer was making his first open water dive for certification. During part of the training, he surfaced, removed his regulator, yelled for help, replaced his regulator and sank. He surfaced again and yelled again before sinking. The victim was recovered from a depth of 12’ by the instructor and taken to the beach, but resuscitation efforts failed. His equipment was tested and found to be in good working order. His death was attributed to drowning, probably brought on b extra - alveolar air syndrome.


Chief James R. Wulf

35 years old

Sabinal Police Dept.

Sabinal, TX

Chief of Police James Robert Wulf drowned December 31, 1984, while attempting to rescue a stranded motorist on a flooded river bridge. The victim officer saved the motorist but lost his life.


Chief Wayne Lewis Wahl

38 years old

Crockett Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Ozona, TX

Chief Deputy Sheriff Wayne Lewis Wahl was drowned on April 28, 1985.


Cpl. Darrell D. McCloud

Maricopa Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Phoenix, AZ

Cpl. McCloud drowned on May 13, 1985 when his car was broadside and forced into a canal.


Dep. Robert A. Van Alyne, Jr.

Laramie Co. Sheriffs' Dept.

Cheyenne, WY

Dep. Van Alyne drowned while trying to rescue a girl on August 1, 1985.


Off. Pedro A. Burgos-Lacourt

29 years old

Puerto Rico Police Dept.

Officer Pedro Burgos-Lacourt died October 6,1985, when while trying to pull a patrol car out of the river with a Police tow truck, the river engulfed him and he drowned.


Metropolitan Police Department, DC

On April 4, 1986, the victim officer and several other officers responded to the call of a female in the water. The female was about 70 yards from the shoreline. The victim officer attempted to reach her and in so doing, drowned before other officers could reach him. The female was saved.


Det. Jack S. Deuser

41 years old

Jefferson Co. Police Dept.

Louisville, KY

Off. Deuser died of electrocution in a body of water on July 29, 1986, while attempting to assist his wife who was having difficulty in the water. His wife, Kathy, also died.


Off. Richard Fortin

Detroit Police Dept.

Detroit, MI

Officer Fortin was drowned on June 21st, 1987, when he saved four people in an overturned boat. The victim officer was assigned as a police diver and was at the scene of a capsized boat. After attaching a towline so the Coast Guard could tow the boat, he sank from view and drowned.


Off. Andre K. Williams

MS River Bridge Authority

New Orleans, LA

On February 16th, 1988, Officer Williams was drowned while trying to rescue a woman who fell overboard on the ferryboat on which he was patrolling.


Off. Andrew Winzer

30 years old

Houston Police Dept.

Houston, TX

Officer Winzer was killed in an auto accident, when he was chasing a traffic violator. His patrol car went out of control, and he drowned. He died on February 18th, 1988.


Ptl. Patricia R. Calderon

26 years old

San Antonio Police Dept.

San Antonio, TX

On December 27th, 1988, Patrolwoman Calderon was killed during a high-speed chase, when her patrol car sank in a creek and she was drowned. Or the officer was pursuing a robbery suspect on foot in a wooded area when she fell into the creek and drowned. (Depending on which web site you believe)


Dep. Timothy L. Wells

36 years old

Williams Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Williston, ND

Deputy Wells drowned on February 11th, 1989, while participating in a cold water certification dive. At approximately 1310 hours, the deputy entered the open water on the Missouri River with a partner during cold water training. He was properly equipped with scuba gear. It is believed the deputy became disoriented while photographing fish. He was found under thick ice near the shore by others in the training group. His tank was empty.


Ranger Clayton M. Cutter

31 years old

US Forest Service

Mammoth Lakes, CA

Ranger Cutter was drowned on February 19th, 1990, when he attempted to save three teenagers who had fallen into a frozen lake.


Game Warden IV William Barry Decker

43 years old

Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.

Austin, TX

Game Warden Decker drowned on May 26, 1990, while patrolling the lake for fishing and water safety enforcement. His patrol boat hit a stump and threw him into Lake Murvaul. Game Warden Hill was also killed in the accident. Neither officer was wearing a life preserver. An autopsy determined both wardens died from drowning.


Game Warden III Bruce Hill

45 years old

Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.

Austin, TX

Game Warden Hill drowned on May 26, 1990, while patrolling the lake for fishing and water safety enforcement. His patrol boat hit a stump and threw him into Lake Murvaul. Game Warden Barry Decker was also killed in the accident. Neither officer was wearing a life preserver. An autopsy determined both wardens died from drowning.


Lieutenant Donald A. Bezenah

St. Clairs Co. Sheriff’s Dept.

St. Clairs Co., MI

Lieutenant Donald A. Bezenah, was killed on August 31, 1990, in a boating accident. Lt. Bezenah was attempting to stop a fleeing boat when the pilot of that boat deliberately rammed Lt. Bezenah's patrol boat.


Off. Kenneth Hansen

26 years old

New York City Police Dept.

New York, NY

Off. Hansen drowned on 06-11-91 while posing as a victim during a water rescue training session. Off. Hansen was reported missing on 06-11-91 and his body was recovered from New York Harbor in Lower Manhattan on 06-12-91.


Wildlife Agt. Kenneth D. Aycock

35 years old

LA Dept. of Fisheries & Wildlife

Baton Rouge, LA

Wildlife Agent Aycock drowned in the line of duty on July 6, 1991.


Ptl. Donald D. Thornbury

26 years old

Miccosukee Police Dept.

Miami, FL

Off. Thornbury was drowned accidentally on 10-28-91 while on routine patrol in the Florida Everglades on the Miccosukee Indian Reservation, when his airboat flipped. He was missing for 3 days before his body was found.


Sgt. Gary Gaboury

35 years old


Waterbury, VT

Sgt. Gaboury drowned on May 12, 1992 while attempting to recover the body of a college student who died after he went swimming the previous Friday.


Ptl. Anthony J. Freitas

42 years old

Presque Isle State Park PD

Erie, PA

Ptl. Freitas drowned on November 17, 1992 while on duty.


Off. Kevin T. Lewis

32 years old

AZ Bureau of Indian Affairs

Socaton, AZ

Off. Lewis drowned on February 4, 1993 when his car was swept in to a river during heavy flooding. He was responding to a call.


Lee’s summit Department of Police, MO

On May 1, 1993, the victim officer was attempting to rescue the victim of a canoeing accident in a rain-swollen river. Due to an extremely swift current, the victim officer drowned even though he had underwater breathing apparatus.


Aux. Off. Ty E. Massey

23 years old

Colona Police Dept.

Colona, IL

Aux. Off. Massey drowned on May 11, 1993 after he was swept away by a flood-swollen river. Massey was responding to a report that a vehicle had gone off the bridge into the river.


Off. James Fassnacht

42 years old

Essex Co. Police Dept.

East Orange, NJ

Off. Fassnacht drowned on July 6, 1993 while he and two other divers were trying to clear an intake screen in Weequahic Park Lake.


Off. Daniel Duyst

37 years old

Grand Rapids Police Dept.

Grand Rapids, MI

Off. Duyst died on May 30, 1994 after jumping into electricity charged water. He jumped into the water to save a man who was crying out for help. The man also died. The water became electrified by wiring for a light on the dock.


Park Ranger Ryan F. Weltman

22 years old

National Park Service

Yellowstone, WY

Park Ranger Ryan drowned on July 3, 1994 when his kayak capsized. He was on public safety duty in the lake at the time.


Park Ranger Paul Pytel

29 years old

San Antonio Parks & Rec.

San Antonio, TX

Park Ranger Pytel drowned on July 31, 1994 while investigating a shooting incident, which later became a murder. He was chasing the suspect when he fell, or was pushed, into the river.


Ptl. Daniel D. Trail

27 years old

Beloit Police Dept.

Beloit, KS

Ptl. Trail drowned on June 25, 1995 while attempting to rescue a group of teenagers from a river. The group of teenagers had been drinking and decided to go tubing. The river was extremely rough and they group got stuck in the some rapids after going over a damn. Ofc. Trail and a local firefighter attempted a rescue attempt and both fell in. The firefighter survived the incident. Ofc. Trial's body was not found for several days. No charges were filed against the group of drunken teenagers.


Cmdr. Franklin Easttam

61 years old

Ouachita Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Camden, AR

Cmdr. Easttam suffered a fatal heart attack on August 28, 1996 while responding to a drowning call.


Off. Mike Partin

25 years old

Covington Police Dept.

Covington, KY

Off. Partin drowned on January 4, 1998 when he fell through a gap in a bridge into the Ohio River while assisting in a foot chase of suspect wanted for DUI, possession of marijuana and running a red light.


Sheriff Ralph Baker

59 years old

Madison Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Huntsville, AR

Sheriff Baker drowned on January 5, 1998 when his cruiser was washed into a flooded river from a low water bridge he was attempting to cross; his cruiser flipped trapping him inside.


Ptl. Britt Irvine

40 years old

California Highway Patrol

Off. Irvine was killed with Off. Stovall while patrolling highway 166. Their patrol vehicle was sucked into the muddy Cuyama River, which had washed out about 100 yards of rural highway. They were last heard from at 2:45 a.m. Their vehicle was found upside down buried under silt, mud and debris. 03-98


Ptl. Rick Stovall

39 years old

California Highway Patrol

Off. Stovall was killed with Off. Irvine while patrolling highway 166. Their patrol vehicle was sucked into the muddy Cuyama River, which had washed out about 100 yards of rural highway. They were last heard from at 2:45 a.m. Their vehicle was found upside down buried under silt, mud and debris. 03-98



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Last modified: April 08, 2003