In the evening hours of Feb. 11, 1929, Motorcycle Officer Ernest H. Philbrick and Leo C. Brandt engaged in a pursuit of an auto speeding westbound on East 14th Street from 63rd Avenue. The fleeing vehicle raced through the intersection of Seminary and East 14th followed by Brandt.
As Brandt reached Seminary, a motorist began to turn into the intersection. The driver stopped until Brandt passed by, then continued his turn. The driver never saw Philbrick enter the intersection, and collided with him head-on. The officer was thrown 75 feet from the collision site.
Philbrick died minutes after his arrival at Highland Hospital.
In order to snare traffic scofflaws, motorcycle policemen of the time occasionally patrolled at night without their headlights on. Philbrick and Brandt had been following this practice.
Philbrick, 32, was a six-year veteran of the Oakland Police Department. He had been assigned to motorcycle duty for only three weeks. At the time of his death, his wife was in a private hospital awaiting the birth of their child.