Deputy Donald Lee Gregory, 28, was killed instantly when the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department car in which he was riding was forced off the highway by another car. Deputy David Hoffenkamp, 38, who was driving, was only slightly injured in the accident on Highway 118 near Simi.
Officers said that Hoffenkamp, westbound on the road, saw a car in the heavy eastbound traffic start to drift into his lane. The deputy finally was forced to drive off the right side of the road striking a power pole. Witnesses told investigating officers that the car that caused the accident did not stop.
An investigation was started immediately in an effort to locate that car. “We have men working on it now,” Inspector Volney Cummins of the sheriff’s office said.
Sheriff William E. Hill stated, “We don’t have any actual eye witnesses, but several motorists at the accident scene have reported in. He added, “We don’t know if the car came in contact with the deputies’ car, but we do know that it was on the wrong side of the road.”
Capt. Bert Stephens, commander of the Thousand Oaks sub-station, said that both deputies’ seat belts were fastened at time of the crash. No estimate of speed of the car was given.
Sheriff’s officers recalled the irony of an accident two years ago in which two deputies were killed and Gregory received only a small cut. That accident in Thousand Oaks on Sept. 3, 1959, killed deputies Larry Taylor and Kent Place. Place was Gregory’s brother-in-law.
Gregory, who had joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1959, was a graduate of the Sheriff’s Academy in Los Angeles. He had just recently been assigned to the Thousand Oaks substation and had also served in the Sheriff’s Jail and Patrol Divisions.
Born May 26, 1933, he lived in Ventura County since 1942, and was a graduate of Oxnard High School. He was a veteran of the Korean conflict.
Gregory is survived by his wife, June; son, Steven Lee, 8; daughter, Dawn Kim, 5; parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harry E. Gregory; brother, Robert E. Gregory, all of Thousand Oaks; and grandmother, Mrs. Lema Gregory of Helena, Texas.
Services were conducted at the Griffin Brothers Chapel in Thousand Oaks. Rev. Gerhardt Knutson of the Ascension Lutheran Church officiated. Interment took place at the Ivy Lawn Cemetery in Montalvo.