OFFICER LEO VOLK (Modesto PD) In the early hours of May 21, 1973, Officer Leo “Bobby” Volk, a three-year veteran of the Modesto Police Department, began pursuing a fugitive vehicle. As Volk accelerated westbound on Yosemite Boulevard in pursuit, a car turning from North Conejo Avenue pulled out in front of him. Volk, in an attempt to avoid a collision,,swerved to the left. The right front tire of his patrol car deflated, causing him to lose control. The patrol car skidded south across Yosemite Boulevard into a construction site where it hit a large concrete block. The force of the collision was so severe that the car was thrown into reverse, causing it to accelerate 130 feet backwards before hitting a light pole and coming to rest. The driver of the vehicle Volk was chasing looked back at the battered patrol car, then sped away.
Volk was pinned in the wreckage for 40 minutes before rescue crews could remove him and rush him to the hospital. During that time he regained consciousness but was only able to say “chasing . . . orange GTO”. The driver of the car was never found, and the crime he committed to cause Volk to pursue him remains unknown.
At 7:30 a.m. on May 21, 1973, Officer Leo Robert Volk Jr. died from injuries sustained in the wreck, leaving his wife and toddler son behind. He gained the unfortunate distinction of being the first officer to die in the line of duty in the history of the Modesto Police Department. His badge was retired from service.