Juan N. Cruz, 48
End of Watch: December 9, 1998
Officer Cruz, along with two other DPS officers were blocking the high speed traffic lane of Interstate 10 in Tucson with their patrol vehicles while investigating a prior collision. A westbound vehicle driven by Tucson resident Marissa Rodriguez, 21 struck the rear of Officer Cruz’s vehicle, which was positioned at the far-east end of the collision scene. Officer Cruz was sitting in his vehicle at the time of the collision and received fatal injuries as a result of the crash. Rodriguez was sentenced to 11 years for manslaughter. There was no trial in this case, the family agreed to a plea bargain of 11 years. Rodriguez was released on parole to her parents on 6/22/2009 and completed her parole on 1/21/2011.
Twenty-nine Arizona Highway Patrol/Department of Public Safety officers gave their lives in the line of duty. These brave heroes and their families are in the hearts and minds of all who worked with them, of those who they follow in their footsteps and of the public whom they served.
Of the 29 deaths, eight were the result of murder, 17 were traffic related, two died in a helicopter crash, one died in a helicopter accident, and one killed when a train exploded.