MODESTO POLICE OFFICERS’ ASSOCIATION
“Protecting those who serve and protect”
1016 13th Street, Modesto, CA 95354
(209) 521-MPOA (6762)
To Whom It May Concern:
The Modesto Police Officers’ Association would like to invite you and members of
your organization to attend the Official Dedication Ceremony of the “Modesto
Police Officer Leo Volk Jr. and Police Sergeant Steve May Memorial Highway”.
Date: Sunday August 26th, 2018
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: 3801 Yosemite Blvd, Modesto. Please convene in the southeast corner of
the Creekwood Plaza, between the Starbucks and Claus Road.
Uniform: We request that members of your organization who will be attending in
uniform wear their Class A uniform (Dress uniform), with hat, if applicable.
Memorial Highway and Signage: State Route 132, which includes L Street, 9th
Street, D Street and Yosemite Blvd within the City of Modesto have Officially been
dedicated as an Memorial Highway in honor of Officer Volk and Sergeant May. Signs
indicating this have been erected on eastbound L Street east of 6th Street and on
westbound Yosemite Blvd west of Claus Road.
Family and VIPS are invited to return to the Modesto Police Officers’ Association
Office afterwards for a light lunch and a chance to visit with one another. The MPOA
Office is located at 1016 13th Street in downtown Modesto.
We would like to thank Assemblyman Adam Gray for authoring and Assemblyman
Heath Flora for Co-Authoring this assembly bill.
We would also like to thank the Modesto Police Department, the Modesto Police
Management Association (MPMA) and the Peace Officer Memorial Group of
Stanislaus County (POMG) for partnering with the MPOA to make this Memorial
Highway a reality.
In the 134 year history of the Modesto Police Department, two Modesto Police
Officers have died in the line of duty. The following is information regarding the
history and legacy of these two Modesto Police heroes who selflessly served the
citizens of Modesto.
Officer Leo Robert Volk, Jr.:
In the early hours of Monday May 21,
1973, Officer Leo "Bobby" Volk, a three-year veteran of the Modesto
Police Department, began pursuing a fugitive vehicle. As Volk
accelerated westbound on Yosemite Boulevard (SR-132) in pursuit, a car turning
from North Conejo Avenue pulled out in front of Officer Volk and in an attempt to
avoid a collision, Officer Volk swerved to the left. The right front tire of his patrol car
deflated, causing him to lose control. The patrol car skidded south across Yosemite
Boulevard into a construction site where it hit a large concrete block.
The force of the collision was so severe that the car was thrown 130 feet backwards
before hitting a light pole and coming to rest. The driver of the vehicle Volk was
chasing looked back at the battered patrol car, then sped away.
Volk was pinned in the wreckage for 40 minutes before rescue crews could remove
him and rush him to the hospital. During that time he regained consciousness but
was only able to say "chasing . . . orange GTO". The driver of the car was never
found, and the crime he committed to cause Volk to pursue him remains unknown.
Officer Leo Robert Volk, Jr. died from his injuries at 7:30 a.m. on May 21, 1973.
Officer Volk left behind his wife and toddler son, as well as his parents and sisters.
He gained the unfortunate distinction of being the first officer to die in the line of
duty in the history of the Modesto Police Department. His badge was retired from
Sergeant Steve May:
In the early morning hours of Monday July 29,
2002, a Stanislaus County Deputy Sheriff located a suspicious
pickup. The license plates on the pickup belonged to a different
vehicle. When the Deputy tried to contact the driver of the pickup,
he backed out, ramming the Deputy’s patrol car, and sped off. The
Deputy’s patrol car was so damaged from being rammed; he was
unable to pursue this violent criminal.
Modesto Police Officers located the pickup fleeing eastbound on Yosemite Blvd (SR-
132) and followed it into the airport district. Officers attempted to stop the pickup,
however the driver fled, initiating a vehicle pursuit. The 18-year-old suspect fled
eastbound on Mono Drive at estimated speeds of 60-65 miles per hour.
At approximately 1:45 a.m. Modesto Police Sergeant Steve May, a 23 year veteran,
was driving his patrol car south on South Santa Cruz Ave looking for the suspect
who was now engaging in a dangerous vehicle pursuit with Officers. The suspect,
with no headlights on, recklessly sped through this residential neighborhood,
running multiple stop signs. The suspect rammed Sgt. May’s patrol car in the
intersection of Mono Dr. and South Santa Cruz Ave. The impact threw Sergeant
May’s police car into a tree in front of a residence at 306 South Santa Cruz Ave. The
suspect was ejected from his vehicle when it struck the residence and died on
Sergeant May was trapped inside of his police car for 40 minutes. Once Sergeant
May was freed from the wreckage, he was rushed to Memorial Medical Center
suffering from major injuries.
Sergeant May never regained consciousness after the violent collision. He was
transported to a Bay Area rehabilitation hospital in September of 2002 and
eventually moved to the Kindred Rehabilitation Hospital in downtown
Modesto. Modesto Police Sergeant Steve May died on July 23, 2009 from
complications resulting from injuries sustained in the 2002 collision. Sergeant May
is survived by his wife of 30 years, Diana and their two grown children, Corinne and
Michael. He also leaves behind his parents and sister.
Both incidents, involving Officer Volk and Sergeant May, occurred in close proximity
to one another. Officer Volk died on SR-132 (Yosemite Blvd) and Sergeant May’s
incident was just south of SR-132 (Yosemite Blvd). It is because of this proximity
that SR-132 was chosen as the appropriate location to memorialize these heroes.
The dark blue line on the map image highlights the Memorial Highway.
We would be honored to have you join us to honor our heroes.
Daniel Starr, Vice President
Modesto Police Officers’ Association
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