Officers killed in The Newhall Incident will have names on freeway signs.
More than 200 officers have died on duty in the California Highway Patrol’s 79-year history, but none have had the same effect as the four officers killed in what has become known as “The Newhall Incident.”
Friday morning at 10 a.m., officials from Sacramento and Southern California will gather with family members of the fallen officers in the Caltrans parking lot next to the CHP office on The Old Road for the re-dedication of a half-mile section of the Golden State Freeway. They’ll be unveiling a large blue sign designating the stretch between Magic Mountain Parkway and Rye Canyon Road in honor of Walt Frago, Roger Gore, James Pence, Jr. and George Alleyn; the four officers who lost their lives 38 years ago. The public is invited to participate in the ceremonies.
“The Newhall Incident” changed law enforcement training and techniques, taking a tragic event and using it to teach police officers safer ways to approach cars at high risk traffic stops. The lessons learned helped departments develop policies to wait for backup and made protective tools, such as batons and pepper spray part of every officer’s arsenal.
On April 6, 1970, Frago and Gore made a traffic stop on The Old Road near what is now Magic Mountain Parkway. At the time, it was home to J’s Coffee Shop and a Standard Gas Station. The driver of the suspect vehicle, Bobby Davis, and his passenger, Jack Twinning, were armed and dangerous, leaping from the vehicle and killing both officers in seconds. As Pence and Alleyn arrived moments later, they were met with gunfire. Pence was able to issue a help call before he died; Alleyn died enroute to Golden State Hospital in Newhall.
Twinning escaped and briefly holed up in a Pico Canyon house, holding the homeowner hostage before turning a shotgun taken from Frago on himself. Davis was captured and convicted on four counts of murder. He remains in custody at Pelican Bay State Prison, home of California’s most notorious criminals.
There have been memorials to the officers, including a row of four cypress trees planted at the former CHP headquarters on Chiquella Lane and a new quartet of trees planted at the current CHP office. A low wall in the office parking lot holds a plaque naming the four officers, where the CHP places a wreath every April.
The effort to memorialize the four officers with a portion of the freeway began in 2005, when CHP Officer Wendy Hahn wrote a resolution for the California legislature that was carried by Senator George Runner to make the dedication possible.