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KHP honors fallen troopers


Special to The Hays Daily News

Special to The Hays Daily News

National Police Week is this week and honors the lives of all of those officers lost in the line of duty throughout the nation. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 National Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the week in which it fell, National Police Week.

"As an agency, we pay tribute to our 10 fallen troopers, not just this week, but throughout the year," Colonel Ernest E. Garcia, Superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol said. "We also honor the lives of all of our nation's law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice, as they worked to keep our communities safe."

The patrol remembered the service of the following 10 troopers who gave their lives while protecting Kansans.

KHP "Roll of Honor"

* Trooper Maurice R. Plummer was the first KHP member to be killed in the line of duty. Trooper Plummer was fatally injured in an automobile crash while patrolling US-40 about 5 miles west of Russell on Dec. 16, 1944.

* Trooper Jimmie D. Jacobs was fatally injured in an automobile crash Oct. 6, 1959, on US-54 east of El Dorado. Trooper Jacobs was on an emergency run transporting blood for an immediate surgery in Eureka when he collided with a grain truck that turned in front of his patrol car.

* Trooper John B. McMurray was injured in an automobile crash Dec. 6, 1964, on K-18 west of Manhattan. Trooper McMurray was stowing a camera in the trunk of his car, which was parked on the shoulder of K-18, when an intoxicated driver struck him. He died on Dec. 9, 1964, as a result of his injuries.

* Lt. Bernard C. Hill suffered fatal injuries as the result of an automobile crash May 28, 1967, on the Kansas Turnpike near Andover. A driver hydroplaned during a thunderstorm, and lost control of his car, and a car it was towing. Both vehicles crossed the median, the towing car overturned, caught fire, and struck Hill's patrol car head on.

* Sgt. Eldon K. Miller was shot and fatally injured on Jan. 19, 1968, while taking part in a manhunt for bank robbery suspects in Overland Park. Sergeant Miller, the first KHP member to be killed by gunfire, was fatally shot while moving a patrol car to protect officers who were pinned down by gunfire.

* Trooper James D. Thornton was shot and fatally injured on Oct. 2, 1973, while checking a hitchhiker on Interstate 70 at the east edge of Topeka. The man, wanted for the murder of his father in New York, was later shot and killed by other officers when he refused to surrender.

* Trooper Conroy G. O'Brien was shot and fatally injured on May 24, 1978, after stopping a car for a traffic violation on the Kansas Turnpike near Matfield Green. Three suspects were apprehended after a vehicle chase, gun battle and massive manhunt south of Herington.

* Trooper Ferdinand F. "Bud" Pribbenow was shot and killed on July 11, 1981, after stopping a man for driving 98 miles per hour on the Kansas Turnpike near El Dorado. The suspect was wounded and apprehended after a short pursuit and gun battle with officers near the Kellogg Turnpike interchange in east Wichita.

* Master Trooper Larry L. Huff was injured in an automobile crash on Nov. 3, 1993. He was patrolling US-81 south of Concordia when his vehicle was struck broadside by a semi as he was attempting to turn around in pursuit of a traffic violator. He died as a result of his injuries on Nov. 26, 1993.

* Master Trooper Dean A. Goodheart was fatally injured at approximately 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 6, 1995, on Interstate 70 near Oakley. As a member of the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program, Goodheart was performing a routine truck safety inspection when a passing car struck him.