It is with honor and respect we remember the names and stories of these fallen deputies of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
DEPUTY WILLIAM FRANCES SMITHSON
On October 19, 1907, while at home with his family in Daggett, Deputy Smithson was advised of an altercation that had taken place at the American Borax Company Plant. The plant supervisor, Newton Millett, told Deputy Smithson he had been involved in an argument with an employee named Ed Silver regarding pay. During the argument, Silver struck Millet in the face.
At around dusk, Deputy Smithson, his assistant John Williams and Newton Millett approached Silver in the street in front of Millett’s home. Silver called out to Millet saying he needed to talk to him. Deputy Smithson approached Silver and said, “What’s the matter, Ed?” Without any provocation Silver suddenly swung his right arm out and shot Deputy Smithson five times in the upper body. Deputy Smithson was carried to the local billiard room by several of the towns’ people where he was attended to by a physician.
A special train was arranged to take Deputy Smithson to the Santa Fe Springs hospital in Los Angeles. However, his condition was too grave to allow for transportation, and Deputy Smithson died the morning of October 20, 1907. He left behind a wife and a seven-year-old daughter.
DEPUTY WILLIAM JACKSON LITZ
On Saturday, May 23, 1959, at about 5:30 in the morning, Bill was finishing up a graveyard shift out of the West End substation patrolling the then-unincorporated area of “Cucamonga”. Riding with Bill in his 1958 Ford patrol car was an Ontario Police reserve named Leland Graves.
Bill drove his unit southbound on Hellman Avenue and across Eighth Street. As he started to cross the railroad tracks his vehicle was struck by a Santa Fe freight train that was traveling about 55 miles per hour. In those days there were no crossing guards, but only signs which read “High Speed Trains”.
Both Bill and Leland Graves were thrown from the patrol car. An Upland Police Officer was first on-scene and both the Bill and Leland were transported to San Antonio Hospital. Bill was pronounced deceased at the hospital. Leland recovered from his injuries.
Bill was buried on May 27, 1959, at Crestlawn Memorial Park in Riverside.
Deputy William (Bill) Litz was 27 years of age at the time of his death. He left behind his wife and two young sons.
DEPUTY BILLY R. HECKLE
On February 15, 1960, at a little past midnight, Billy Heckle was on patrol with Deputy Richard Ohlson when they joined a Highway Patrol Officer in a pursuit of a stolen 1952 Mercury. After leading the deputies on a chase through the streets of Bloomington, the driver of the stolen car eventually crashed into a street sign at the intersection of Randall Avenue and Larch Avenue.
The driver of the car fled into the orange groves while Billy and Richard gave chase. Ohlson briefly spotted the suspect as he disappeared into the trees. Seconds later, two shots rang out and Billy fell to the ground, fatally wounded by a single gunshot wound to his forehead.
About an hour later, two Rialto officers arrested Lawrence Wiley, a 19 year old Marine who they found walking along Riverside Avenue about a mile from the scene. Wiley later told detectives he had fired toward the deputy’s flashlight.
Billy was 45 years old at the time of his death. He was the commander of the Fontana Reserve Unit which he had helped start nine years earlier. He left behind his wife and 12-year-old step-daughter. Billy was a dedicated deputy who volunteered thousands of hours to our department.
LIEUTENANT ALFRED ELDEN STEWART
On March 9, 1973, Al was on his way to Barstow when he observed a wrecked California Highway Patrol vehicle. He was told the CHP Officer had been slain and the suspect was possibly at a nearby service station. Al located the suspect and ordered him to stop. The armed suspect immediately turned and opened fire on Al, striking him at least three times.
Retired Sheriff’s Sergeant Jim Mayfield witnessed the shootout between Al and the suspect. The suspect, armed with two handguns, was shot and wounded by Jim. The suspect was taken into custody and subsequently sentenced to serve 30 years in prison.
Al Stewart was 39 years old at the time of his death. He left behind his wife and three children. Al was a dedicated deputy who achieved the rank of Lieutenant and served the citizens of San Bernardino County for eight years.
On March 9, 2011, a portion of Interstate 15 between Oak Hills Road atop the Cajon Pass and Interstate 215 in Devore was dedicated to Al’s memory.
DEPUTY FRANK PRIBBLE
Deputy Pribble joined the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in March 1965 and was assigned to the Fontana Station. He was very well respected and well known throughout the department and the county, particularly in Fontana where he was assigned.
On July 6, 1975, Deputy Pribble was on patrol in Fontana when he approached a pick-up truck with a camper on the rear looking for a suspect in a shooting. The suspect opened fire with a rifle hitting Deputy Pribble in the back, mortally wounding him. His partner, Deputy William Brown returned fire into the camper hitting the suspect. Both Deputy Pribble and the suspect died at the hospital from their respective gunshot wounds. Even during the last moments of his life, Deputy Pribble exhibited selfless regard for life when he told a woman who was trying to assist him to “get out of the way; I don’t want you people to get hurt.”
Deputy Pribble had served with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for ten years. He was survived by his wife and son.
On August 28, 2009 a portion of Interstate 10, was dedicated in Frank’s memory.
DEPUTY CLIFFORD SANCHEZ
On April 6, 1985, Cliff was off-duty and leaving a local business in the City of San Bernardino. While in his vehicle, Cliff was confronted by two suspects. One suspect was armed with a handgun as they demanded his money and wallet.
Cliff complied by relinquishing both his money and wallet to the suspects. When the suspects opened the wallet and discovered his law enforcement credentials, they fired several times striking Cliff, killing him in cold blood. The investigation later revealed Cliff had complied with the suspects and was killed for no other reason than his chosen profession. Both suspects were subsequently arrested, convicted, and sentenced to death.
Cliff was 31 years of age at the time of his death and left behind his wife and three children. Cliff was a dedicated deputy who served nearly six years with our department and was well respected throughout the law enforcement community.
DEPUTY DONALD DEMEULLE
Although Don was a fully qualified helicopter pilot, he was not at the controls on the day of his death, but was fulfilling the duties as the flight officer. On July 31st, 1986, the patrol ship was flying along the shore of Silverwood Lake when it struck a set of wires. The towers were obscured by trees and the wires, running across the valley, were difficult to see.
The wreckage sank in about 10 feet of water. Despite having a broken neck, the pilot, Steve Nix, tried to pull Don out of the wreckage. Overcome with pain and exhaustion after repeatedly diving under water, Steve had to be pulled out by boaters that came to help.
Don was under water about ten minutes before the boaters and State Park Rangers were able to bring him up. More heroic efforts at resuscitation were made by the citizens, Rangers, and the medical crew of our rescue helicopter, but Don was declared dead when he reached the hospital.
Deputy DeMeulle had served with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for just over two years. He was survived by his wife and two young children.
DEPUTY KEITH FARLEY
On October 29, 1986, Keith was driving a marked patrol unit on State Route 62 approaching the intersection of Sage Avenue in the Town of Yucca Valley. A citizen turned in front of Keith’s unit causing a horrific traffic collision. Although Keith was wearing a seatbelt, he struck his head on the windshield and sustained a concussion. He was treated and released at a local area hospital.
Keith returned to full duty three days later. On November 4, 1986, he was kicked in the head by a juvenile who resisted arrest. Subsequently, Keith began to experience chronic headaches and sought medical care.
In January 1987, medical tests revealed cerebral spinal fluid collected and built pressure in Keith’s brain. Keith subsequently underwent surgery to relieve the pressure and was able to return to full duty on March 10, 1987.
In early April 1987, Keith experienced headaches again, which became increasingly worse. He was immediately admitted while medical personnel conducted further testing. While hospitalized, Keith suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage and passed away on April 12, 1987.
Keith was 32 years old at the time of his death and left behind a wife and two young daughters. Keith was a dedicated deputy who served ten years with our department and was well respected among the law enforcement community.
DEPUTY RUSSELL DEAN ROBERTS
Russ was killed while conducting a follow-up investigation to a vehicle collision on River Road in the City of Needles. Due to the roadways dangerous curve, Russ decided to return during daylight hours for measurements needed to complete his investigation.
On Saturday, September 16, 1995, Russ parked his vehicle on a knoll with flashing warning lights visible from both directions. He was about 100 yards from his vehicle, on the opposite side of the road, when a motorist entering the curve began to skid. The driver lost control and hit Russ. Emergency personnel responded immediately, but their efforts proved futile. He died upon arrival at Desert Communities Hospital.
A former military policeman, Russ joined the Needles Police Department in 1989. He became a deputy sheriff six months later when the city began contracting for law enforcement services with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Russ is survived by his wife and two sons.
On March 31, 2011 a portion of Needles Highway (River Road) from Park Road north of Sherman Way was dedicated to Russ.
DEPUTY RON WAYNE IVES
On September 1, 2004, Ron was passing through the intersection of Baseline Road and Archibald Avenue in the City of Rancho Cucamonga when the driver of an SUV ran through the red light and struck Ron’s police motorcycle. Ron was transported to a local trauma center where he succumbed to his injuries approximately one hour after the collision. The driver of the opposing vehicle also died from injuries sustained in the collision.
In August of 2002, Ron and four others made a cross-country bicycle tour, riding from Long Beach to Ground Zero in New York City. Ron also coordinated the Rancho Cucamonga Station’s Annual Bicycle Rodeo. The Bicycle Rodeo has since been dedicated to his memory and is known as “The Ron Ives Bicycle Rodeo”, which continues today. Ron will forever be remembered for his commitment to our country and his dedication to the citizens of the County of San Bernardino.
Ron served with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for eight years. He is survived by his wife and son.
DEPUTY DANIEL JESS LOBO JR.
On October 11, 2005 at 3:25 pm, Danny, along with a second motor deputy and a deputy in a patrol car, were traveling east on Arrow Highway in Rancho Cucamonga. Danny was responding to a vehicle collision at Etiwanda Avenue with his lights and siren activated. A driver exited a driveway to proceed west on Arrow Highway. The first motor was able to pass, the patrol car swerved out of the way, but Danny could not avoid the vehicle exiting the driveway, and was thrown from his motor after striking the rear. He was flown to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, where he succumbed to his injuries at 4:12 p.m.
Danny first joined the Sheriff’s Department in 1994 and was assigned to the Rancho Cucamonga Station in 1998. He is remembered by fellow department members as a happy guy, always smiling; a man with a positive outlook on life, a love for family, and devoted to his work. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer Lobo; three daughters, Kiley, Kadie and Maddison; and his parents, Daniel Lobo Sr. and Gloria Lobo.
About 2,000 people paid their respects to Danny at his funeral services on October 17, 2005. During the service at Hillside Community Church in Rancho Cucamonga, Danny’s 10 year old daughter read a letter she wrote for her father. She said, “I will miss you. I can’t wait for the day that I’m up in heaven with you and God.”
DEPUTY GREG ALAN GARIEPY
On June 22, 2005, Greg was driving a marked patrol unit on Old Woman Springs Road, in the Town of Yucca Valley. While on his way to assist another deputy, Greg lost control of his vehicle, drove off the roadway and overturned. He was ejected from the vehicle. The deputy he was responding to assist arrived at the scene and immediately began CPR before rescue crews arrived. Greg was transported to Hi-Desert Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries.
Greg served his country as a United States Marine before pursuing a career with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in 2002. He is survived by his wife, son, and two daughters.
On February 29, 2008, a six-mile stretch of Highway 247 was dedicated as the Greg A. Gariepy Memorial Highway.
DETECTIVE JEREMIAH MACKAY
On February 12, 2013, Jeremiah along with other law enforcement officers received information on the possible location of a murder suspect. The suspect had sparked a regional manhunt after the deaths of 3 others, including two Southern California law enforcement officers. While formulating a plan to tactically search a rural property in Angeles Oaks, deputies encountered rapid gunfire. A deputy sheriff was struck four times by gunfire and fell to the ground. Jeremiah repositioned himself and returned fire while also directing air support to their location. During the exchange of fire, Jeremiah was shot multiple times and was fatally wounded. Jeremiah succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
Jeremiah began his career as a deputy sheriff with our department in 1998. The 14-year veteran worked patrol at the Twin Peaks and Central Stations. In 2006, he was promoted to detective and assigned to the Training Division, where he taught his colleagues tactical and firearms training. His most recent assignment was at the Yucaipa Station.
Jeremiah was survived by his wife, 7-year-old daughter, and 4-month-old son.
On April 16, 2014 a portion of State Highway 38 from post mile 24.00 to post mile 29.00 was dedicated as “Jeremiah MacKay Memorial Highway.