A Los Angeles teenager was driving without a license when he collided with a police car, killing the first San Bernardino policeman to die on duty in nearly 40 years, investigators said.
Sgt. Timothy F. Littlefield, the father of five children, died about an hour after the Sept. 14 wreck. The 16-year-old driver, whose name is being withheld by police, was treated for minor injuries and released from a hospital.
Littlefield, 37, was on his way to a check-cashing business at Fourth and G streets to supervise a forgery investigation. He knew another officer already had detained a suspect there and wasn’t in jeopardy, “so there was no reason for him to be hurrying to the call,” Bloomer said.
The front of the teenager’s borrowed Buick slammed into the driver’s door of the police car.
Littlefield was wearing his seatbelt. “But they’re not designed to (fully) protect you from a side impact,” said Sgt. Darryl Sellas.
The teenager wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and was ejected onto the pavement, but received only minor cuts and bruises.
Littlefield’s reputation is that of a family man who worked hard to become a cop, his colleagues said. “It’s too bad it happened to a nice guy,” said one sergeant.
“He is one of 13 children. And, of course, he has five children,” said Capt. Dan Robbins, commander of the patrol division.
Littlefield is a Navy veteran who was discharged in August 1971. He went to work at the sheriff’s office in 1974 as an evidence clerk and, the following year became a police assistant at San Bernardino Police Department.
As a police assistant, Littlefield processed paperwork and helped detectives who specialized in forgeries and bunco schemes. After 2 ½ years, he was hired as a policeman in August 1977.
At the time of his death, he had been a policeman for nine years. He was promoted to sergeant April 28.
Littlefield is believed to be the first San Bernardino police officer to die in the line of duty since a September 1947 car wreck killed Patrolmen Frank A. Rogers and Harris R. McCullough, department officials said.
The San Bernardino Police Officers Association has opened a trust fund for Littlefield’s daughter and four sons, whose ages range from 5 to 12. Donations to the Littlefield Memorial Fund may be made through P.O. Box 202, San Bernardino 92401.