Burmeister, Patrolman William F.


END OF WATCH: October 20, 1935
Cleveland Police Department

Patrolman William Burmeister was part of the Cleveland Police Department’s Motorcycle Unit. Burmeister had been in the Motorcycle Unit for most of his six years on the force. He was appointed on June 14, 1929, and was assigned to the traffic division in December of that year.

When Burmeister reported for duty on October 20, 1935, he was to escort a funeral procession which had left Barberton and was making its way through Cleveland. Unfortunately, Burmeister would never complete his tour of duty that day. Burmeister, while on duty, was involved in a traffic accident and was to become Cleveland’s two hundred fiftieth traffic fatality. The following describes the circumstances surrounding the accident:

Mrs. Estelle Miller, witness to the accident, was traveling eastbound on Gay Avenue. As she approached East 126th Street, a truck swerved sharply in front of her and knocked eleven year old Albert Kratochvil off his bicycle and into the curb. The truck proceeded east on Gay Avenue with Mrs. Miller following behind. At the intersection of Gay and 131st Street, the truck failed to stop at a stop sign and drove into traffic. Burmeister was travelling southbound on E. 131st Street. As Burmeister attempted to pass Gay Street, the truck pulled out in front of him and hurled him, head first, into the side of the truck.

Burmeister suffered a broken neck from the impact and was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The driver of the truck was identified as twenty-three year old Myer Shushansky. Shushansky was charged with manslaughter as a result of careless driving.

Burmeister, who resided at 13614 Glendale Avenue, was survived by his wife and children, Florence, 6; William Jr., 3 and Dorothy, 2.

William Burmeister’s name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C. panel 29, west wall, line 11.

By Recruit Scott D. Marek, Cleveland Police Academy