Deputy Sheriff Earl Mendenhall

Deputy Sheriff Earl Mendenhall

Ventura County Sheriff's Office, California

End of Watch Saturday, July 15, 1961

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Earl Mendenhall

Deputy Sheriff Earl Mendenhall was killed in an automobile crash on Santa Clara Avenue, near Highway 118, when a mentally ill prisoner he was transporting grabbed the wheel of his cruiser and caused it to veer into oncoming traffic.

Three people in the other car were seriously injured but survived. The 27-year-old prisoner was sent to a mental institution where he soon escaped. He remained at large for two years before he was captured at his parents' home.

Deputy Mendenhall's death led to the installation of plastic shields in police cars between the front and back seats to protect officers from criminals.

Deputy Mendenhall was a WWII veteran. He was survived by his wife and seven children.


  • Age 35
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Vehicular assault
  • Weapon Automobile
  • Offender Committed

EDP, transport

Most Recent Reflection

View all 20 Reflections

I’ve only heard stories and seen pictures, but biologically you are my grandfather. My mother is Sue, your daughter. It saddens me that she has so few memories of you before your death. I wish that your life had not been tragically cut short so that all of your children could have had an opportunity to get to know each other and you better.
Rest easy.

Amy Beisheim

July 21, 2023

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