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Ward, Sgt. Robert D.

End of Watch: 
Thursday, May 15, 1969
County: 
King
Agency: 
Seattle P.D.

On May 15, 1969 around 3:25 a.m., Sgt. John Dempsey observed two men in a vehicle slowly pulling away from the Copper Door Tavern at 6601 E. Marginal Way S. When he discovered the back door had been forced open, he attempted to stop the vehicle. The car was driven by Michael R. DeVeau, 22, who was on parole for burglary. He refused to stop and sped off. Officer Mel McKenzie joined in the pursuit which reached speeds of 100 m.p.h.

Officers Gary Pankey and Paul Greiner were partners walking a beat. They were with Sgt. Robert D. Ward  when the pursuit was broadcast. They decided to ride with Sgt. Ward, and assist in efforts to stop the suspect vehicle. As the pursuit proceeded north on 1 Ave. S., Sgt. Ward was driving south on 1 Ave. S. In the 1000 block, the suspect vehicle crossed the centerline and hit Sgt. Ward’s patrol car head-on. It took firefighters and officers 30 minutes to extricate Sgt. Ward from the wreckage. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Swedish Hospital at 4:10 a.m. Officers Pankey and Greiner were seriously injured. DeVeau was dead at the scene. His passenger and accomplice, Gerald McCarter, a convicted felon, was seriously injured.

Sergeant Robert Ward was survived by his mother, a sister, and his children, Michael, Robert Jr., and Janice. Bob Ward’s funeral was held at the Mittlestadt Chapel on May 17, 1969. He was buried at Washelli Cemetery.

Gerald McCarter was convicted of second-degree burglary. He was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. The prison time was suspended on the condition that he serve one year in the county jail and pay court costs.

Robert D. Ward was born in Selah, WA on December 3, 1926. He grew up in the Wallingford neighborhood, and graduated from Lincoln High School. He obtained an accounting degree from the University of Washington before enlisting in the Marine Corps. He married Kathryn A. Dariotis on January 23, 1948, and was commissioned as a Seattle police officer on March 20, 1953. Bob joined SPD with his best friend, Harry Schneider. Bob spent most of his career at the Wallingford Precinct where one of his assignments was a walking beat in Lake City. On February 13, 1955, Bob had an experience few of us ever have. He assisted in the delivery of a baby girl at a house on N. 95th Street. A young woman had gone into labor, and the baby just wouldn’t wait. Bob was promoted to Sergeant in 1969, and was assigned to Patrol at the old Public Safety Building. He loved the outdoors, and enjoyed fishing and hunting. For most of his career, Bob was a member of the SPD Marching Drill Team. He also had a part in a Hollywood movie made in Seattle, The Slender Thread, starring Sidney Poitier. Those who knew and worked with Bob Ward remember his sense of humor and love for the job.