Senior Investigator Laura Jean Cleaves

Senior Investigator Laura Jean Cleaves

Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office, California

End of Watch Thursday, May 1, 2008

Laura Jean Cleaves

Senior Investigator Laura Cleaves was killed when her department vehicle was struck head-on by a drunk driver on Highway 154, near the intersection of Highway 246. She was returning to Lompoc from Santa Barbara when the incident occurred shortly before midnight.

The drunk driver, who was fleeing a California Highway Patrol officer at the time of the crash, was taken into custody following the incident.

Investigator Cleaves had served with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office for 24 years and had served in law enforcement for a total of 32 years. She had previously served with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Arcata Police Department, and the Santa Barbara Police Department. She is survived by her husband, who serves with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, two daughters, mother, father, step-mother, and four siblings.


  • Age 53
  • Tour 32 years
  • Badge DA-13

Incident Details

  • Cause Vehicular assault
  • Weapon Automobile; Alcohol involved
  • Offender Sentenced to 15 to life in prison

Most Recent Reflection

View all 167 Reflections

Thinking about you today, Laura. It doesn't seem possible that awful morning when we learned of your passing was almost 10 years ago. Funny story, Diane Evans and I drove out to the cemetery to pay our respects a few months after your death. We had a few lovely minutes with you and when we went to leave Diane's car wouldn't start, even though she'd had no problems with it before. We laughed and said, "Laura doesn't want us to leave". The car acted up badly all the way from your gravesite to the exit from the cemetery, where it started running perfectly, and never gave her any more trouble. Rest in Peace, beautiful lady.

Sandy Garbiso
Retired - Santa Barbara County D.A.

March 31, 2018

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