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Sacramento County Deputy dies in traffic accident

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Posted over 8 years ago

Please pry for his family and his partners. I will update with day and time for service so if your in the area it will be appreicated.


Sheriff's deputy dies in traffic accident
By Kim Minugh and Stan Oklobdzija
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Published: Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008 | Page 6B
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For the fourth time in four years, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department is preparing a funeral for one of its own.

Tragedy hit the department once more Wednesday afternoon, when the motorcycle ridden by 13-year veteran and second-generation sheriff's Deputy Larry Canfield collided with another vehicle while he conducted traffic enforcement as part of the Rancho Cordova Police Department's motorcycle unit.

His death, pronounced shortly thereafter at Mercy San Juan Medical Center, is the fifth line-of-duty loss suffered in the Sheriff's Department's ranks since 2005.

"I don't think you ever get over it. It's just a numbing effect," said Deputy Kevin Mickelson, president of the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff's Association. "Here we think we're going to make it through a year, and here we are again."

Wednesday's accident occurred shortly before 2 p.m. along a busy stretch of Coloma Road, just a few hundred feet from Mills Middle School.

Investigators worked into the night piecing together details about the crash, the force of which severed the motorcycle's front wheel from its body.

Sheriff John McGinness said Canfield, 43, had been working on a speed-enforcement assignment when he spotted a speeding motorist by using LIDAR – Light Detection and Ranging.

Witnesses said Canfield was using flashing lights and sirens when he collided with another motorist, who was turning left in front of him into a church parking lot, McGinness said.

Thrown from his motorcycle, Canfield likely died instantly, McGinness said. Though the driver of the other vehicle, bystanders and paramedics tried to render aid, McGinness said it was an "exercise in futility."

Deputies detained the 79-year-old driver for questioning, but by Wednesday night there appeared no "criminality" on his part, McGinness said.

The California Highway Patrol's Major Accident Investigation Team volunteered to handle the case to spare Rancho Cordova detectives from examining their comrade's death.

Deputies roped off Coloma Road between Chase Drive and Sierra Madre Court for hours Wednesday. Residents gathered at the police tape said Coloma Road is a dangerous and heavily traveled thoroughfare, further congested by the presence of three schools within a few blocks.

Just two years ago, another sheriff's deputy assigned to the Rancho Cordova motor unit, Bill Woodel, was struck while on duty in the same area. The accident left him a paraplegic.

Residents say they've seen other dramatic accidents – or near-misses – that have them worried about the safety of anyone traveling that road.

Tonya Baca, 26, said she called the city just a month ago to complain. She pleaded with officials to do something to alleviate traffic in the area.

Now, she said, they might have to listen.

"It's sad that's what it takes," said Baca, who lives in an apartment along Coloma Road.

"That's somebody's father, that's somebody's son. That's somebody's somebody."

Straddling his bike next to the police tape, 14-year-old Serge Minlikayev was beginning to absorb the shock of it all.

He very well may have been the last person to speak to the deputy, the teen realized.

Minlikayev said he was riding his bicycle along Coloma Road when Canfield stopped him and asked where the teen's helmet was.

The boy admitted to leaving it at home, and the deputy ribbed him a little about trying to be cool.

Then he reminded Minlikayev that helmets are required by law, and that next time, he better not leave it at home.

"He was real cool," Minlikayev said.

The boy stuck around with the deputy for 10 minutes or so, as Canfield pointed out various violations by passing drivers. Someone not wearing his seat belt. An expired registration tag.

The teen was amazed by what the deputy could see. "He was noticing everything."

In chatting, the boy didn't take note of the deputy's name. But he did notice a cigar hanging from his mouth – a Canfield trademark, friends said.

"Always – never lit," said Deputy Mark Baxter, a close family friend of Canfield's and former Rancho Cordova motor officer.

He described his friend as a dedicated and loving father of two young boys, Tyler and Bryce, and husband to Michelle.

Baxter and Canfield owned a boat together and took their families to Folsom and Camanche lakes. Canfield also enjoyed fishing and coaching his sons' baseball and basketball teams.

And he had a great sense of humor, always ready with a wisecrack, Baxter said.

"Cantankerous – some kind of word like that would be very appropriate," said Baxter, 39.

As a deputy, Canfield was professional and committed to his colleagues. He was "100 percent there, as your friend and as your partner," Baxter said.

Canfield joined the Sheriff's Department in 1996 after leaving the Army and was assigned to the Rancho Cordova motor unit in 2004.

McGinness said the deputy was extremely popular among Rancho Cordova cops, known as a "very happy guy with a big smile on his face all the time."

Baxter struggled to describe how his department would handle not only Canfield's death, but a seemingly unrelenting stretch of loss.

"We need a break," Baxter said.

"It's been a lot for us all to handle."

In 2005, a sheriff's helicopter crash claimed the lives of Joe Kievernagel and Kevin Blount and nearly claimed a third. Jeff Mitchell was shot to death in 2006, and the next year brought the loss of Vu Nguyen.

Last spring, Canfield had been an "instrumental" part of a team of motor officers from Sacramento County who rode to Washington, D.C., to honor other fallen officers – including Nguyen – during National Law Enforcement Memorial Week, said Mickelson, the union president.

In the spring, Canfield's colleagues will make the journey again, this time with him in mind.


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Rate This | Posted over 8 years ago


What a shame. RIP! prayers go out for the friends co workers and family of this man.

My heart is simple. I love til I cant love no more. I cry until my tears are dry. I wish upon stars. The only thing I will chase is a Shot. I believe Karma will take care of those who do me wrong.

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago


 Missing you Lawrence! Rest in peace... you will never be forgotten!