Police Officer William L. Rickabaugh

Police Officer William L. Rickabaugh

Santa Clara Police Department, California

End of Watch Tuesday, January 11, 1966

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William L. Rickabaugh

Police Officer Bill Rickabaugh was killed when he rode into a steel cable that had been strung across the entrance to a construction zone for the San Tomas Freeway.

He had observed two boys trespassing and riding a motorcycle on what is now the San Tomas Expressway, near Monroe Street and Los Padres Boulevard. Officer Rickabaugh rode his motorcycle up a dirt ramp and collided with a metal cable that had been stretched between two posts. The cable impacted his chest.

A citizen began CPR on Officer Rickabaugh, who was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Officer Rickabaugh was a U.S. Navy veteran and is buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery. He survived by his wife and two children.


  • Age 28
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge 39
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Motorcycle crash

suspicious person

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We lost you 56 years ago today.
Your sacrifice is not forgotten and your legacy endures.

Jim McNamara, Jr.

James McNamara, Jr

January 11, 2022

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