Deputy Brandan G. Hinkle, 33, was in the final weeks of training when his motorcycle crashed head-on into a Lexus sedan as he rode on Brea Canyon Cutoff near Diamond Bar in Los Angeles County. He was southbound behind a training officer when he collided with the northbound vehicle at a bend in the road. Sheriff’s Capt. Ray Leyva said that Hinkle was thrown from his motorcycle, perhaps as far as 100 feet.
He was taken to Brea Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 35 minutes after the crash, which occurred during the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 14.
Hinkle recently purchased a used Kawasaki 1000 to drive to and from work to get as much motorcycle practice as possible, his wife, Michelle, stated. He was training to be a motorcycle deputy at the Walnut/Diamond Bar station.
Capt. Leyva said, “It’s a highly sought-after spot. It’s a great job. You like riding motorcycles and they’re paying you to do it.”
The driver of the Lexus and her 2-year-old daughter were treated and released from an area hospital.
No one was cited, and it was unknown how fast either driver was going, or whether the deputy or motorist strayed into the other’s lane, Leyva reported. However, Hinkle was not driving at emergency speeds.
Hinkle’s wife said, “He was a big kid at heart . . . He loved working with his fellow deputies. He was a caring man with a big heart, who doted on his pet pug, Pugsley.”
Born in Fullerton, but raised in Missouri, Hinkle had washed out of motorcycle training last year but re-enrolled when an opening became available. He had completed all but the last phase.
Motorcycle officers formed a procession outside the Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa Thursday, Feb. 22, to mourn the loss of a colleague. Hundreds of deputies, police officers and family members attended the memorial service for Hinkle.
Sheriff Lee Baca, Capt. Edward B. Hitchcock, and Deputy Luis Goni were among those who eulogized the officer.
Burial followed, under the direction of Capt. Ken Masse, at Pacific View Memorial Park in Newport Beach.
Hinkle’s family had urged him not to become a motorcycle officer, but he was determined to put behind him an unsuccessful attempt to join the elite unit of motorcycle deputies, and this time he seemed destined for success. He was flying through training and was only weeks from finishing when the head-on collision took his life.
Hinkle, who was an 11-year veteran of the Los Angeles Co. Sheriff’s Department, had been assigned to the Lomita station since 1995. He was the first sheriff’s employee to die in the line of duty in the past four years.
Hinkle’s wife told the mourners, “The meaning of Valentine’s Day has greatly changed for all of us who knew Brandan. This was the day we lost a friend, brother, son, and a husband. The hearts of many have been broken and we have shed endless tears of sorrow. We may never hear his laugh or see his smile again, but we will have these precious memories tucked away in a special place just for him in our hearts. Knowing Brandan’s wishes – he would want us to take this tragedy as a gift and cherish each day we have with each other. Only from the support of each other will we all start the healing process.
“Brandan’s farewell wishes to all of us would be two things: ‘To live long and prosper, and especially to give an extra hug and kiss to your pets each day.’ ”
Along with his wife of six years, Hinkle is survived by his mother who resides in Kansas, and father in Missouri.
A fund has been established in honor of Deputy Hinkle. Donations may be made to the family through, “Sheriff’s Relief Foundation #205,” c/o The Sheriff’s Relief Association, 11515 S. Colima Road, Whittier, CA 90604.