In 1949, Turlock Police Department lost three officers in a tragic vehicle accident.
While they were responding to a prowler call, Officers Joe E. Kerley, 61, Glenn E. Winans, 39, and George G. Bredenberg Jr., 37, struck a train while traveling in the dense fog.
Officers Kerley and Winans died at the scene. Officer Bredenberg Jr. died 51 hours later from his injuries.
The impact was so great that it derailed the refrigerator car and broke the train’s wheels on the opposite side. Bredenberg was in the back seat, which is the reason he wasn’t killed instantly.
Bredenberg’s shift began at midnight, and Kerley and Winans’ shift ended at midnight. This prowler call came in right before midnight and Officer Bredenberg went with the other officers to assist with the call. They had planned on dropping Officer Kerley off at his home right after this call.
Officer Kerley’s wife died in 1945. He was survived by his son Joe E. Kerley Jr. and two brothers, Albert of San Diego, and Will of Oklahoma.
Officer Glenn E. Winans was survived by his wife, Ruby, and four children Glenn D. Winans, 20, Dale Winans, 19, Dara, 11 and Nina, 8.
Officer George G. Bredenberg Jr. was survived by his wife, Mildred D. Bredenberg, and two sons Jack R., 3, and George G. III, 5 months.