The Spokane Regional Fallen Officers Project hopes to rename the Argonne overpass crossing Interstate 90 in honor of Deputy Joseph M. O’Connor, who was killed while directing traffic in 1961.
The nonprofit is requesting letters of support from Spokane residents to have the overpass renamed. The project committee is working with elected officials, community members and the state Department of Transportation.
A drunken driver hit and killed O’Connor at 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 13, 1961, while the deputy directed traffic at an accident scene near the Argonne overpass. He was 37.
O’Connor was thrown 300 feet and died instantly. The 24-year-old driver who struck him was later convicted of homicide.
O’Connor was an Army veteran who served in WWII.
He was survived by his wife and three children. His three children are still in Spokane, and one of his grandchildren is waiting to become a deputy for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
The committee has placed four memorial signs already and plans to install 21 others over the next few years. It has dedicated four memorials in Spokane, to sheriff’s Deputy James Slater, Spokane police Sgt. Robbin Best, Washington State Patrol Trooper Ivan Belka and police Lt. John “JD” Anderson.
Letters can be sent to the Spokane Regional Fallen Officers Project at firstname.lastname@example.org or to 1100 W. Mallon Avenue, Spokane, WA 99260.
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