Sheriff’s Captain Roland Barbeau died from injuries he suffered when his patrol car’s tire blew out which caused the patrol car to go off the road 20 miles north of Mojave. The driver, Lt. Charles Dewey, and two other passengers, (prisoners) escaped injury.
Barbeau, 46, a veteran officer and chief of the Identification bureau, was thrown from the car as it rolled off US 6 near Red Rock Canyon. The two prisoners, suffering only cuts and bruises, administered first aid to the two officers, they stopped a passing motorist to get help.
A brain specialist was rushed from Fresno to Bakersfield for emergency surgery, but the deputy failed to respond.
Barbeau and Dewey were returning to Bakersfield from Ridgecrest and Inyokern with two prisoners. Dewey managed to keep the car on the road until after it had passed a strip bordered by steep ravines. The vehicle then overturned, throwing Barbeau from the car. The other remained inside until after the car came to a stop. The prisoners, both of Glendale, expressed great admiration for the excellent control Dewey had over the car. “Otherwise,” one prisoner said, “we would have all been at the bottom of the canyon.”
Dewey and the two prisoners were treated and released from Kern General Hospital less than four hours later.
Barbeau had been with the Sheriff’s Department for 18 years.