Law enforcement, Patriot Guard escort deputy killed in Zion flood home to California

A police procession provided escort from St. George to California as the bodies of Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Arthur and his wife, Linda, who were killed in a flash flood at Zion National Park, were driven home to their final resting place, Littlefield, Arizona, Sept. 21, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Jeff Hunt, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – A long procession of law enforcement vehicles provided escort from St. George into California Monday as the bodies of Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Arthur and his wife, Linda, two of seven hikers killed by a flash flood in Zion National Park last week, were driven home to their final resting place.

With lights flashing, representatives from Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George Police, Utah Highway Patrol and Arizona Department of Public Safety, along with the Ventura County Sheriff, two deputies and six bikes from the Utah Patriot Guard Riders escorted the white hearse, which was outfitted with the Ventura County Sheriff’s logo and encased the remains of the couple, left Spilsbury Mortuary for the six-and-a-half-hour drive to the couple’s hometown of Camarillo, California.

It was a pretty somber experience,” Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Bottoms said, “there weren’t a lot of words spoken except to coordinate the movement of the patrol vehicles.”

Bottoms said it was an honor to assist the Ventura County and Washington County sheriffs offices in a small way, adding that it was nice to see the way so many people paused to pay their respects to Sgt. Arthur as the procession left St. George.

Not only was there an outpouring of support from local law enforcement agencies, Utah Patriot Guard Ride Captain Kent Hardman said, but from other agencies all along the route to California as well.

“Once we were going along,” Hardman said, “there was various exits where the local municipalities had sent – like at Beaver Dam Exit there was a fire truck and an ambulance there with their lights going and their drivers and patrons all saluting as the procession went by.”

As the procession approached Mesquite, Nevada, Hardman said, vehicles were again parked on both sides of the road as the escort crested the hill near the first exit going into Mesquite with those who stood waiting to honor and pay their respects to a man who had devoted 21 years of his life to public service.

The motorcade proceeded to Moapa Travel Plaza, approximately 20 miles north of Las Vegas, where the Utah Patriot Guard Riders handed the procession over to Nevada Patriot Guard Riders.

“I was with him until that point, and then I touched base with them afterwards,” Hardman said, “and they said that the handoffs went very well and said there was a great feeling and everybody had seen similar things the rest of the way where there was different agencies who … were standing on the exits showing their support as the procession went by.”

The procession proceeded from Moapa to the California border where they again changed the guard and California Patriot Guard Riders picked up the escort responsibility through California into Ventura.

Along the extra mile

One local authority made the decision to travel far past the Utah border, showing his respect for a fellow deputy. Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher traveled the full distance of the journey to the Arthurs’ hometown.

“He and one deputy in his vehicle went the whole way – they stayed with him and escorted him all the way home,” Hardman said, adding:

He had indicated that they were going to go all the way, and then when I was talking to the two officers from Ventura, they had told me that, you know, how impressed they were that he was going to make the trip all the way to Ventura with them.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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47 Comments

  • sagemoon September 22, 2015 at 9:38 am

    I was wondering what that procession was about. What a sweet way to honor an officer and his wife.

  • DRT September 22, 2015 at 10:02 am

    This is a nice gesture, but let’s face it. This Sgt. was only one of several people that were killed, and he was not killed in the line of duty. I believe that this was just a little bit overboard.

    • 42214 September 22, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      It’s all private money, private sponsorship, voluntary participation by mostly retired or off-duty peace officers.

    • native born new mexican September 22, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      DRT I was waiting for someone like you to say it first before I posted but too me there were 7 people who died in that canyon; not just two. I do not like the some people are more special than others flavor to this ceremony. I agree with others he did not die in the line of duty. He and his friends chose to ignore sound advice and go in that canyon. I regret the loss of life but this was death because of bad judgement and not line of duty heroism. I do not think there should have been any more ceremony for him than for the other valuable human lives that were lost.

      • 42214 September 22, 2015 at 4:47 pm

        I drive by Tonaquint Cemetary and see some funerals are bigger than others. As a matter of fact some are down right huge. You have a problem with that or should all funerals be the same?

      • Rainbow Dash September 22, 2015 at 5:20 pm

        I was waiting for you to comment. I bet you that if her were alive, he wouldn’t have asked for this in the event of his death. No officer does. Despite what you might believe this is not some government conspiracy to spend money, take your guns, kill Christians or any other baseless “facts” presented by “obummerlies1776’s” youtube comments, Fox News or whatever right wing nutjob blog Google brought you to this week.

        No.

        You know what this is? This is people choosing to honor the passing of their friends, colleagues and family members. Oh before you say it, None of this was taxpayer funded. How do I know? My dad was a cop.

  • beentheredonethat September 22, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Not only overboard, but expensive on the taxpeyers dime!

    • 42214 September 22, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Not one penny of tax payers money if you bother to read my prior comment.

      • Chris September 22, 2015 at 5:14 pm

        Photos in other publications clearly show government owned public safety vehicles from various agencies in the procession. Obviously, public tax money was expended. Even if the gas used by these vehicles was paid for by private sources (which I seriously doubt), the “wear and tear” on those vehicles is on the public dime. Considering that this deputy’s death was the result of poor judgment outside the line of duty, it is highly inappropriate for this much hoopla to accompany his “ride” home.

        • 42214 September 22, 2015 at 9:40 pm

          You worried about tire wear? What a punk you are

          • fun bag September 22, 2015 at 11:36 pm

            hey 42, why so mad? u must’ve known the guy…

          • 42214 September 23, 2015 at 4:03 pm

            I apologize to Chris. Got a little mad I guess. Fact is the honor procession is all volunteer and it’s a non-profit org. When the body gets to Ventura, CA that’s their business and I’m sure some police vehicles will burn 3 gallons of gas each and wear down the tires a bit.

          • Chris September 23, 2015 at 8:01 pm

            Don’t worry about it. The great thing about this forum is we can all blow off some steam anonymously, except for mesaman of course. We all know who he is.

      • fun bag September 22, 2015 at 5:26 pm

        blah blah. if they’re using public police vehicles then that’s taxpayer money. don’t know where u get ur info…

        • 42214 September 22, 2015 at 9:44 pm

          So Fun Bag, if both your friends want to have a funeral for you in a phone booth is that our business?

          • ladybugavenger September 23, 2015 at 10:07 am

            If government vehicles are involved, then yes, fun bag’s phone booth funeral would be our business

  • ladybugavenger September 22, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Tax payers money? What about the other deaths of this flood. Did they get the same honor?

    • native born new mexican September 22, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      I agree ladybug.

    • fun bag September 22, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      I guess the others that were killed don’t matter enough to get their own parade…?

    • 42214 September 23, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      They got the flag improperly lowered to half staff for a day.

  • fun bag September 22, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    It is very inappropriate considering he was not killed in active duty

  • Dexter September 22, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    I wouldn’t worry about it. going to funerals is just a hobby

  • ProudAmerican September 22, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    GOOD HEAVENS UTAH PEOPLE…SHOW SOME DIGNITY WILL YOU!! No this off duty officer was not on the clock when his life and his wife plus many other life’s were lost because of the floods. If the least UTAH and Washington County Sheriff’s Department can do is accompany a fallen comrade and his wife whether it be losing his life in the line of duty or a tragic accident home to their home State for burial….so be it. Guess you all have nothing better to do with your time then tear down deceased accident victims for bad choices they made and so on and so forth!!! The other victims of the floods last week are also being helped in many ways from fundraisers to the State of Utah helping. Let’s try and refrain from the negative kackling of a bunch of negative Utah residents and thank all who have helped in anyway to ease the pain of all the families that are suffering over their losses. I’m a taxpayer here in St George and I’m gonna THANK all who precipitated in getting one of their fallen back home. I’m sure it’s not going to break me. That’s what you call a United Brotherhood. For you negative UTAHans…QUIT THE HATING!! By the way, there are NO LAW ENFORCEMENT in my family in case you are wondering!!!

    • Accountable September 23, 2015 at 9:59 am

      The gang of misanthropes on this site are incapable of behaving with any dignity or intelligence. They maliciously tarnish the character of St. George and Utah as a whole. It’s a shame they are allowed to continue; however, STGNews is confronted with a difficult situation when censoring free speech.

      • fun bag September 23, 2015 at 5:38 pm

        hey trolly, ur one to talk. ur the most hateful mean person on the site

      • Chris September 23, 2015 at 8:11 pm

        LOL. I’m sure we are all ashamed of ourselves. Maybe, you’d be happier at an “echo chamber” forum where everyone agrees. You obviously can’t handle hardball.

  • ProudAmerican September 22, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    “Correction” Participated

  • fun bag September 22, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    I think to be fair each of the other six who were killed needs to have their own parade. I’d like to see our local cops writing up more tailgating citations, not going on roads trips to cali. Maybe we are over-funding our local police that they have time for these escapades…

  • ProudAmerican September 23, 2015 at 8:15 am

    SHAME SHAME ON YOU FUN BAG! “PARADE” REALLY! Goes to show the mentality you are thinking with. I’m proud of the Law Enforcement and the close Brotherhood that was shown in escorting one of their own back home. Not sure if this officer was a Veteran as well, but Thanks to our Patriot Guard for your dedication. May all of the victims of last week’s horrible floods Rest In Peace.

  • Dexter September 23, 2015 at 8:54 am

    The only thing that concerns me about the whole thing. is the unfortunate loss of life. my sympathy to families..

  • sagemoon September 23, 2015 at 9:14 am

    If I put in 21 years at the same job, especially one that served the public good, and my coworkers and peers decided to honor me with a parade…I would be flattered. Perhaps the man deserved the respect he got. Only one vehicle from Utah made the entire journey, many in the “procession” were parked at highway exits (not travelling), and it was not funded by tax payers. I think this is beautiful. Do you really think his department would have done this if he had been a worthless employee or a bad cop? As for the other victims, it’s up to their families and coworkers if they want to have a parade in their honor. The plygs are just lucky that they get a memorial open to the public. From articles posted last week, it sounded like that was not going to be an option since the funerals were private and exclusive.

    • Rainbow Dash September 23, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      I think it was beautiful too. This man and his wife were heroes by every definition of the word. Thank you for being one of the few on here that isn’t trashing what happened.

  • ladybugavenger September 23, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I think it’s an honor however, they were killed by a flood, the same flood that killed others that were with them and I think it’s unfair that the others weren’t recognized as well. I know they are police but they weren’t killed in the line of duty. They were killed by a flood that did not discriminate and took civilians too.

    • ladybugavenger September 23, 2015 at 5:35 pm

      And because the flood did not discriminate, the police force shouldn’t discriminate either and all that were killed in that group. by the same flood, should get the same treatment. There’s no honor in discrimination.

      • ladybugavenger September 23, 2015 at 5:41 pm

        So what was suppose to be an honor turned into shame. Shame that those other lives didn’t seam to matter because they weren’t police officers. They all died together and only 2 got special treatment.

        • Dexter September 25, 2015 at 10:24 am

          Only in your dreams

  • fun bag September 23, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    I THINK WE CAN ALL LEARN A LESSON FROM ALL THIS

  • beentheredonethat September 23, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Rainbow said the man and his wife were heros. To who and why?

  • ProudAmerican September 23, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Miss LadyBug you really need to your mute button! Cuz your CACKLIN WAY TO MUCH! THX YOU and have a great evening.

    • ladybugavenger September 24, 2015 at 12:06 am

      If i got a dime for everytime i heard that. I’d have like $20….You have a great evening too 🙂

  • ProudAmerican September 23, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Correction “HIT YOUR MUTE BUTTON PLEASE”

    • Dexter September 24, 2015 at 2:06 am

      One should always follow their own advice

  • Rainbow Dash September 23, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    To who and why? To me, you and everyone else. To everyone who has ever been hurt in any way at any time. Why? Because he came when no one else would. Because he had the guts to approach peoplke so evil they make Warren Jeffs look like the prophet he claimed to be and hold them accountable for their actions. Because he devoted his life to protecting innocent people and holding the nopt so innocent ones accountable. Let mw leave you with this poem submitted to police link by “jtccss3” on Policelink:

    We answered the calls just as they’d come

    A man with a knife, two more with a gun

    Fights that broke out in back alleys and bars

    Chasing down felons in fresh stolen cars

    My partner and I were always ready for hell

    We watched each others’ back, we did it quite well

    We’ve been shot at and missed by thugs selling rocks

    We’ve been battered from rooftops with garbage and blocks

    The word on the street was we’d take no guff

    The skells would say we were fair but damn tough

    Yup, ready for anything I always said

    Never surprised… until I learned he was dead

    See my partner worked overtime he needed more pay

    He had two little boys and a girl on the way

    No it wasn’t a robbery or a felon on the run

    He just stopped a kid, to say be careful, have fun

    But the kid on the bike was high on cocaine

    Now my partner lay dead, a bullet in his brain.

    I miss him real bad, he thought just like me

    When I’m walking my beat, his face I still see

    Every call he is with me, still watching my back

    His voice reminds me, don’t ever slack

    Take nothing for granted, keep on your toes

    Cause, when’s YOUR shift end…? One never knows.

    Poem Called: One Never Knows….

    • sagemoon September 24, 2015 at 9:34 am

      That is a beautiful poem.

  • ProudAmerican September 24, 2015 at 7:50 am

    Miss LadyBug…..Here’s .25 cents…call someone who cares! Shhhhhhh

    • Dexter September 24, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      You can’t make a phone call for 25 cents…. Duh.!

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