Tim Ruggles, a reserve with the Placer County Sheriff’s Department, had only one goal: to become a full-fledged deputy.
But his career ended before it really began when he died Sunday night, February 9, following the crash of his patrol car while on a call near Loomis, authorities said.
The wreck occurred on at 8:20 p.m., said Placer County Sheriff Donald Nunes. The driver, Deputy Jon Perriraz, 29, was only bruised and got out of the car on his own. Ruggles, however, lost consciousness and was pinned inside for nearly an hour before being pulled out by firefighters using metal-tearing “Jaws of Life.”
Ruggles, 23, of Roseville, was transported by helicopter ambulance to University Medical Center in Sacramento, where he was pronounced dead at 10:07 p.m.
“All of us in the department are choked up at Tim’s death,” Nunes said. “He was a fine young man who had chosen law enforcement as a career and was preparing to become a regular deputy.
“I was looking forward to promoting him in the near future.”
Ruggles had been with the department about a year, working on-call to relieve vacationing deputies and court bailiffs.
As part of his training, Ruggles was required to ride along with deputies. “That’s what he was doing Sunday night,” Nunes said.
The chain of events leading to his death began in Loomis when Deputy Mike Cash sighted a car driven by a suspected burglar. Before intercepting the car, Cash requested a backup, Nunes said.
Perriraz and Ruggles were responding to the call when their car darted off a curved section of Laird Road and crashed into a large oak tree just outside the Loomis city limits.
The sheriff would not speculate as to the cause of the accident, which is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol, and declined to report any other details.
CHP officials said details of the accident would have to come from the Sheriff’s Department after it received the CHP’s reports.
Perriraz was not available for comment.
Nunes said the suspected burglar who unknowingly triggered the event was not apprehended.
An autopsy conducted by the Sacramento County coroner’s office established that Ruggles died of head injuries, a coroner’s spokesman said.
Ruggles is survived by his parents, Merle and Pat Ruggles of Roseville and by an uncle, Hal Ruggles, a retired captain from the Auburn CHP office.