Douglas E. Knutson, 43
End of Watch: January 2, 1998
While standing and waiting for a tow truck to remove an abandoned vehicle at the gore point of Scottsdale Road and westbound Loop 202 (Red Mountain Freeway), Motorcycle Officer Knutson suffered multiple injuries when struck from behind by a small pickup truck driven by Brett Baxter, 22, of Tempe. He was taken to Maricopa County Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Officer Knutson was the first DPS motorcycle officer to be killed in the line of duty. Baxter was not charged.
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 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.