Sergeant Stuart J. Searles

Sergeant Stuart J. Searles

Sauk County Sheriff's Department, Wisconsin

End of Watch Sunday, June 10, 1984

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Stuart J. Searles

Sergeant Stuart Searles was killed in a helicopter crash while assisting with search and recovery efforts after a tornado caused heavy damage to the town of Barneveld, Iowa County, Wisconsin.

The F5 tornado struck the town on June 8th, 1984, killing nine people. Sergeant Searles was detailed to fly the Wisconsin governor above the devastation the day after the tornado. On June 10th he was again requested to respond to the area to assist with recovery efforts. While en route to the area the Hiller UH-12E helicopter experienced an electrical malfunction that caused the battery to explode as it flew approximately 75 feet above ground, near Merrimac, Wisconsin.

Sergeant Searles was able to maneuver the aircraft to an area without bystanders. The aircraft exploded upon impact with the ground, killing Sergeant Searles instantly.

Sergeant Searles was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had served with the Sauk County Sheriff's Department for five years. He had previously served with the Windham County, Vermont, Sheriff's Office for seven years. He was survived by his wife and two children.


  • Age 38
  • Tour 12 years
  • Badge 10
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Aircraft accident

Most Recent Reflection

View all 15 Reflections

It was 32 years ago today that Sgt. Stuart James Searles crashed his helicopter...he was doing what he loved...flying and helping people. He was very good at both. Ya'll have heard this before...he was my mentor and my eldest brother. Always a man among men...a husband...a father...a cop...a Marine. He touched the lives of many and the souls of a few. I still miss him.

Ofc Steven C Coleman ret
Grand Blanc Twp Police

June 10, 2016

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