Patrolman Ralph Franklin Garthwaite

Patrolman Ralph Franklin Garthwaite

Iowa State Patrol, Iowa

End of Watch Saturday, July 2, 1955

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Ralph Franklin Garthwaite

Patrolman Ralph Garthwaite was killed when his patrol car was struck head-on by a drunk driver on Highway 30 two miles north of Woodbine.

The incident occurred on a bridge as Patrolman Garhwaite travelled northbound towards Dunlap, Iowa.

The subject was charged with manslaughter. A jury found him innocent November 30th, 1956.

Patrolman Garthwaite had served with the Iowa State Patrol for three years.


  • Age 34
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge 218

Incident Details

  • Cause Vehicular assault
  • Weapon Automobile; Alcohol involved
  • Offender Acquitted

Most Recent Reflection

View all 11 Reflections

I’m sure that if we applied the current 21st Century's standards, the suspect would now be found guilty of at least vehicular homicide. Before the 1990s (IMO), drunk driving was almost looked upon, at most, as an aggravated misdemeanor. Thankfully we’ve since as a society evolved.

Michael Redenius
Former RPDO, Parkersburg, IA

April 11, 2021

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