Police Officer William L. Rucker was killed when his motorcycle crashed almost head-on into a car at Palm and Oak streets in Bakersfield.
The 29-year-old motor patrolman was pronounced dead on arrival at Kern General Hospital.
Investigators say Rucker was northbound on Oak Street when the other driver negotiated a left turn from Oak onto Palm. Highway Patrol officers at the scene cited the other driver for alleged violation of right of way and making an improper left turn. One of the first persons to reach the crash scene was Rucker’s wife, she was following a short distance behind in the family car.
Rucker was not on duty at the time, but was taking his police motorcycle to the police mechanic shop for repair work.
The officer was appointed May 21, 1949 and had worked continuously as a motor officer since that time. A captain in the USAF, he was shot down and was a prisoner of war for two years.
He graduated from Manual Arts high school in Las Angeles, then started his training in the Army Air Corps in 1942, graduating at Stockton Air Base in 1943. He spent nine months in a German prison camp after being shot down on a mission and was liberated in May, 1945.
Returning to this country, he was stationed at Minterfield where he met the future Mrs. Rucker, the former Beverly Sands.
Officer Rucker left behind his wife, Beverly, and two sons, Michael William and Patrick Jay.