Fresno County Sheriff’s Sergeant Richard T. Bain, 38, died Nov. 16, 1961, when his marked unit crashed into the front bedroom of a home on East Cortland Avenue in Fresno.
Mr. and Mrs. Clifford A. Galpin, owners of the house, had gone from the bedroom into the living room moments before the accident.
The impact crushed a section of the wall and pushed the lower part of the wall about a foot into the bedroom. The Galpins’ bed, though jarred out of position, was not damaged. Sheriff Melvin E. Willmirth said Bain had a tooth pulled at 10:30 p.m. then returned to duty. Willmirth said it does not appear the tooth extraction had anything to do with the accident.
“It looks like it was just a case of fatigue,” Willmirth said, theorizing that Bain possibly fell asleep at the wheel.
Bain headed a three-man detail assigned to follow up investigations of misdemeanors. Willmirth said the nature of the detail made it necessary for Bain to keep long and irregular hours.
Bain had been a sheriff’s officer for 10 years.
“He was a fine investigator,” Willmirth said of Bain. “He was one of those natural officers who could pick up where the ordinary investigators would leave off. He had done a terrific job on his present detail. His loss will be deeply felt in the department. “My husband and I were sitting in the living room,” explained Mrs. Galpin, “when we heard this awful noise. My first thought was that the cooler was falling off the roof.”
“It sounded like the crash was on the roof. I don’t know why. Anyhow the cooler was the first thing I thought of. But the noise was tremendous, I’m still shaking.”
“My husband and I saw the car and could hear a man moaning. There seemed to be a lot of dust floating around, I ran next door and called the police and ambulance. It was good luck for us that we were in the living room and not in bed.”
Officers said Bain was pinned in the car. Firemen helped the police remove him. He was dead on arrival at the Fresno County General Hospital.
Bain, 38, is survived by his widow, Betty; three children; and his mother, Mrs. Eva Bain, of Greensboro, NC.
He was a World War II marine and was appointed a deputy sheriff in 1951. He became a sergeant in November of last year. He had headed the follow-up detail for about eight months, officers said.