Police Officer James David Ketchum

Police Officer James David Ketchum

Costa Mesa Police Department, California

End of Watch Tuesday, March 10, 1987

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James David Ketchum

Police Officer Dave Ketchum and Police Officer John Libolt were killed when their helicopter was involved in a midair collision with the Newport Beach Police Department's helicopter while providing air support to a vehicle pursuit along MacArthur Boulevard.

The Costa Mesa's Hughes 500E helicopter's rotor blades sheered off, causing the aircraft to fall from the sky just south of the UC Irvine campus. Newport Beach's helicopter was able to make an emergency landing.

A civilian observer flying in the Costa Mesa helicopter was also killed. The driver of the fleeing vehicle was apprehended and charged with murder.


  • Age 39
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Aircraft accident

vehicle pursuit

Most Recent Reflection

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Thank you for your service and please know that your sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren. Rest in peace always.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

March 10, 2021

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