Monterey County Deputy Sheriffs Jerralee Jane Jacobus, 24, and Craig L. Knox, 25, were killed on June 1, 1980, when their police cruiser was hit head on en route to a burglary call.
On Sunday, June 1, 1980, Deputies Jacobus and Knox (the driver) were responding to a burglary alarm at Warner’s Machine Shop on River Road south of Gonzales. They were traveling south on Alta Road near Corda Road just north of Gonzales at 12:55 a.m. when their police car was hit head on by a car driven by Hector Luis Martinez, 20, of Salinas. Martinez, who was drunk, had crossed over the centerline and was traveling with his lights off northbound in the southbound lane when he collided with the patrol unit.
Deputies Knox and Jacobus were killed instantly in the collision, and Martinez was pronounced dead on arrival at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital.
Deputy Jacobus was born on Sept. 16, 1955, at the Army Hospital at Ford Ord, California.
She grew up in Seaside, California (a suburb of Monterey) and attended San Carlos Parochial School in Monterey, Junipers Memorial High School and Monterey High School, graduating from the later in 1973. She was an excellent student and was active in sports. While attending junior college, she took night classes in sign language and worked at a school for the deaf as a volunteer.
Jacobus attended Monterey Peninsula College in 1973-1974 and California State at Fresno in 1975-1978. She received a B.A. degree in criminology from Fresno State University in 1978.
She joined the Monterey Sheriff’s Dept. in 1978 and graduated from the Central Coast Counties Police Academy at Gavalin College in Gilroy. She had served 22 months as a deputy, all as a patrol officer, at the time of her death.
Deputy Jacobus, 24, was survived by her parents, Arthur and Dora Jacobus, of Seaside, California; two sisters, Lora Jacobus, Monterey; and Candice Jacobus, San Francisco; and her paternal grandfather, Ralph E. Jacobus, Seaside.
The funeral was held with full police honors at the Mission Mortuary Chapel in Seaside on Tuesday, June 3. Hundreds of uniformed police officers from 46 agencies from throughout California attended the service overflowing the small chapel. An honor guard stood by the open casket as Rev. Msgr. Todd Brown of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Seaside delivered the eulogy.
After the funeral service a procession of “several hundred” police cars and motorcycles escorted the hearse from the chapel to the Mission Memorial Park in Seaside for the burial service. The graveside service included a gun-salute, the playing of “taps,” and the folding and presentation of the American flag from the casket to the family.