Riverside Police Department


Officer Clinton Burtner

Clinton Burtner had been a Motor Officer for the City of Riverside for eight years as of November 27th, 1938. He was on-duty that day, riding his motorcycle northbound on Main street through the intersection at 8th street (now University Avenue) when another vehicle traveling westbound on 8th failed to yield for a red light.

The vehicle struck Officer Burtner with such force that it jammed his motorcycle against the front of the car and pushed it twenty feet before the car stopped. The crash guard on the motorcycle protected Officer Burtner's legs, but his head struck the radiator hood ornament of the vehicle, fracturing his skull.

Officer Burtner was rushed to Community Hospital where he remained in a coma until he died as a result of his injuries on December 4th, 1938.

The woman driving the vehicle that struck Burtner was issued a citation for reckless driving by the CHP Sergeant who investigated the crash and not formally booked (there were no RPD officers around to investigate the crash because they had all gone to the hospital). When Officer Burtner passed away, the complaint against the "at fault" driver was changed to that of "negligent homicide." A warrant was issued for the driver's arrest and she immediately posted bail. She later pled guilty to the negligent homicide charge and was granted formal probation without any jail time served. Her driver's license was also revoked.

Clinton Burtner was the 65th auto accident fatality for 1938 when he died in December. He is buried in Olivewood Cemetery.

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