Peace Officer Memorial Group, Inc.
Officer Lavon New

 

Officer Lavon Bayne New
Born: October 9, 1906, Mustang, Canadian County, Oklahoma
Appointed: February 1935, Turlock Police Department
EOW: August 14, 1935, Stockton, San Joaquin County, California
Cause: Motorcycle Accident
At Rest: Mustang Cemetery, Mustang, Canadian County, Oklahoma

Lavon Bayne New was born October 9, 1906 on the Vought ranch east of Addington, Oklahoma to Amos Frank and Laura May [Hoy] New. He grew up in the area of Mustang, Oklahoma. Lavon's father Amos was a Deputy Sheriff under Pat Garrett in Texas before becoming a blacksmith and wheelwright and moving to Oklahoma.



On April 11, 1927 a tornado struck the family home in Mustang, completely destroying it, killing his mother and seriously injuring him and his father.

On June 5, 1927 Lavon married Vera Perigo. In 1928 Lavon and Vera moved to Turlock, California where he was employed as a fireman for the City of Turlock. On October 1, 1929 Lavon and Vera were blessed with a son, Lavon Jr. They lived at 320 Thor Street, in Turlock.



On December 22, 1932 a large fire occurred at the Knudsen (Fred) Warehouse Packing Sheds on North Front Street. Firefighter Lavon New was injured and had to be rescued. He suffered critical smoke inhalation. The fire caused $15,000 in damage and took nine hours to bring under control.

In February 1935 Levon accepted the position of Traffic Officer for the City of Turlock under Chief of Police E. W. Gaddy. As a Traffic Officer he was assigned as a motorcycle officer. Officer New's son said he remembers his dad coming home with the motorcycle and that he put him on the seat. The motorcyle was running and he said it really scared him and he cried.



On June 23, 1935 at about 7:15 pm, Officer New was pursuing a speeding vehicle, that failed to stop at the intersection of Golden State Highway and Main Street, northbound on Highway 99, commonly called North Center Street.  A vehicle driven by Rudolph Lindquist with his wife and child turned left onto Geer Ave from southbound North Center Street and was struck by Officer New's motorcycle.

The crash was violent enough that the rear tire of the vehicle was torn off and Officer New was trapped under his motorcycle. The Lindquist's were not injured.

Officer New was transported to Emanuel Hospital in Turlock with a fractured jaw, broken right leg, fracture of both wrists and concussion of the brain. He appeared to improve and remained there until Aug 12, 1935 when he was taken by ambulance to St. Josephs Hospital in Stockton where he could receive specialized surgery to repair his right femur.

On August 14, 1935  Dr George H. Sanderson performed the surgery and Officer New suddenly died from post operative shock at 6:30 pm. He was 28 years old and a motor officer for seven months. Officer New is the first known officer to die in the line of duty in Stanislaus County.

His father had been visiting the family when the accident and death occured and he returned to Oklahoma to make arrangements for Vera. After a service for Officer New in Turlock, Vera had his body returned to Oklahoma and she and their six year old son soon followed. Officer New was laid to rest at Mustang Cemetery in Mustang, Oklahoma.



Officer New is honored at the Stanislaus County Peace Officer Memorial in Lakewood Memorial Cemetery, Hughson, California, The California State Peace Officer Memorial in Sacramento, California, and the National Peace Officer Memorial in Washington, D.C., Panel 31-E, Line 1.


In 2006 members of the Peace Officer Memorial Group were researching our officers and the six year old boy who left California in 1935 never to return was located in Oklahoma. In May of 2006, Lavon Jr. and his wife Barbara were flown to Modesto as our guests during Police Week. They attended the Stanislaus County Memorial as honored guests, Turlock Police Department opened their city, department and hearts to show them around Turlock in a vintage convertible T-Bird and they attended the candle light vigil and Peace Officer Memorial in Sacramento.



At our local memorial, Lavon was asked if he would like to sit on a police motorcycle and he did. We were all so proud of him as he did not cry this time.



When we took Lavon and Barbara to the airport to return home, we made sure the airline knew they had special people onboard and they received VIP handling. Lavon said he didn't realize the long arm of the law was as long as it was.

Lavon told us that all these years he didn't think anyone other than family remembered his dad and he was very grateful. We told him we have never forgotten his dad and never would. Lavon and Barbara now know they are a part of the law enforcement family.

It is with great sadness that we have found that Lavon passed away on March 15, 2013 in Edmond, Oklahoma. He will be missed.