Constable Dick Valdez was killed instantly Jan. 2, 1962, when his car skidded off Highway 99 near Clayton Avenue and struck a large tree in the center of the divider strip.
California Highway Patrolmen Charles Hess and Arthur Kannady who said that Valdez passed them a few minutes earlier near Malaga discovered the accident. The accident occurred a few minutes before 10 p.m. Valdez was alone in his car and was driving in the southbound lane. He was thrown from his car and was dead upon arrival at the Fresno County General Hospital.
The officers claimed there was no indication of a law violation. They reported that the car driven by the constable left skid marks on the pavement, but they did not know the direct cause of the accident.
Funeral services for Valdez were held in the Fowler Funeral Chapel on Jan. 6.
Valdez, a native of Tres Pinos, San Benito County, was born on Sept. 7, 1921. He was a World War II veteran and had lived in the Fowler area for the past ten years. He was a member of the Fowler American Legion Post, the Fowler Chamber of Commerce, the Fowler Fishing Club, the International Footprinters, and the California Judges and Constables Association. He served for a number of years as a member of the Fowler Police Department. In 1957 he was appointed constable by the board of supervisors to succeed E.T. York. In 1960 he was re-elected to serve a full term as constable.
Valdez is survived by his wife, Lucy; two daughters, Nancy and Carol; mother, Ruth Alvise of San Jose; two brothers and a sister.
The Rev. Sarkis Papajian officiated at Valdez’ funeral services. Concluding services were held in the Fowler Cemetery.