END OF WATCH: August 4, 1927
Cleveland Police Department
On August 4, 1927, Richard White, a Cleveland Motorcycle Patrolman, died in the line of duty in an unfortunate motorcycle-car accident.
August 4, 1927, Patrolman White was pursuing a speeding motorist on East 55th Street at an estimated speed of 40 to 45 mph. As the pursuit neared the Luther Ave intersection, a vehicle driven by John Austin cut the corner and turned left directly into Motorcycle Patrolman White’s path.
White locked the brakes and skidded the motorcycle about fifty to sixty feet before he and the cycle flipped over and into Austin’s car. White sustained a fractured skull and was impaled on one of the cycle’s handle bars. White was transported to a nearby where he died several hours later.
Austin was arrested on a charge of careless driving and manslaughter. He appeared before Judge Sweeney who postponed the hearing until the following week but made him post a five thousand dollar bond.
Prior to reporting to work that day, White and his mother visited his father’s grave at Calvary Cemetery, White’s father died the year before. White was to marry soon and he was the only support for his aged mother and a sixteen year old sister. A second sister was married to Sergeant Edward Flannigan of the Broadway-Jones Road station.
Police Chief Graul of the E. 55th-Perkins Avenue precinct expressed his sorrow over White’s death stating “Dick White was one of our most fearless and conscientious policemen. He was always a gentleman.” (Information was obtained from the Cleveland Press and the Cleveland News.)
Richard White’s name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C. panel 37, west wall, line 11.
By Recruit Donna J. Billen, Cleveland Police Academy