Scores of police officers, friends, family and colleagues gathered to bid farewell July 22 to Maywood Police Officer Daniel C. Kelley, who died July 18, of injuries that he sustained in an on-duty traffic accident 10 days earlier.
The accident happened about 9 a.m. on July 8, when an unlicensed, uninsured driver pulled out of a driveway and collided with Kelley, police said. He was thrown from his motorcycle and suffered major injuries.
Police detained the driver who was later released by the Huntington Park Police Department, which submitted the case to the district attorney’s office, said Sgt. James Kinsey.
Colleagues had understood that Kelley was improving from numerous injuries that he sustained on what officers called his “maiden voyage” as a motorcycle officer. They were shocked when Kelley died at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood of what doctors said appeared to be an aneurysm. Officer Dan Kelley
Kelley, a peace officer for more than 12 years, had reached his goal and graduated from the motorcycle academy only five days prior to the accident.
Sgt. Scott Anderson spoke of Kelley “as an outstanding officer, well-liked, easygoing. You couldn’t ask for a better copper.”
Officer Lynette Johnson, a member of the 27-officer Maywood Police Department, stated, “It’s a big deal to us. We’re so close to each other.” Maywood Police Chief Rick Lopez, who wore a black band around his badge, gave the eulogy, praising Kelley for “making the ultimate sacrifice.” He was the third officer to die while on duty in Maywood Police Department’s 75-year history.
Sgt. Mark Van Holt, a friend for the past 20 years, described Kelley as energetic, vivacious and fun loving. “He made the most out of every day. He loved his work, loved being a policeman, [and he] was so excited to be a motorcycle cop.
Bill Wallace, who had helped train Kelley at motorcycle school, stated, “Danny was very excited when he got his motor appointment. Being that it was just him and me out there, it is like losing a brother.”
Kelley, who was single, grew up in Orange County, where he played Little League baseball and was a member of the Police Explorers with the Seal Beach Police Department.
After graduating from Westminster High School, he enlisted in the Army and became a military police officer. He completed his three years of active duty and was honorably discharged March 25, 1986.
Kelley continued his education at Golden West College in Huntington Beach and Rancho Santiago College in Santa Ana, before beginning his law enforcement career at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in 1987.
He became a police officer at the Los Alamitos Police Department just two years later and stayed there until 1996, when he joined the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy sheriff. He joined Maywood Police Department on Nov. 1, 1998.
Bob Krauss, Kelley’s stepfather and a retired officer from Seal Beach, said that being an officer was what Kelley had wanted to do since he was about 14.
“I was excited for him, but I had some apprehension about the job in California, with the amount of traffic,” Krauss stated.
Along with his stepfather, Kelley is survived by his mother, Patricia Krauss, of Cottonwood, Arizona.