Police Officer David Joseph Nelson

Police Officer David Joseph Nelson

Bakersfield Police Department, California

End of Watch Friday, June 26, 2015

Add to My Heroes

David Joseph Nelson

Police Officer David Nelson was killed in a vehicle crash while involved in a vehicle pursuit at approximately 2:40 a.m.

The pursuit started when he attempted to conduct a traffic stop of an unlicensed vehicle. He chased the car for several blocks until his cruiser left the roadway and struck a retaining wall and a utility pole at the intersection of Mt. Vernon Avenue and Panorama Drive, causing the engine compartment to ignite. Responding officers located his vehicle and removed him from the wreckage before the patrol car became engulfed in flames.

He was transported to Kern Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries a short time later.

The vehicle he was pursuing continued to flee. The driver was arrested the following day after police received an anonymous tip about the vehicle. The driver was arrested and charged with evading an officer resulting in injury or death, hit and run resulting in injury or death, obstructing arrest, felon in possession of a firearm, and other charges. The driver was sentenced to 31 years to life in May 2018.

Officer Nelson had served with the Bakersfield Police Department for two years. He is survived by his parents and two brothers.

In October 2016, Hosking Bridge was renamed to Bakersfield Police Officer David Nelson Memorial Bridge.


  • Age 26
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge 1191

Incident Details

  • Cause Vehicle pursuit
  • Weapon Automobile
  • Offender Sentenced to 31 years+

traffic stop, vehicle pursuit

Most Recent Reflection

View all 225 Reflections

As I sit here and write about you for a scholarship in your honor, I weep at the loss that we have all endured because you were taken so young. Thank you for your service and I know there are many who strive to be better because of who you were.

scholarship writer

March 13, 2020

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.