Officer William C. Prettyman
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Physical Assault/Battery
Date of Incident: December 12, 1973
Weapon Used: Personal weapons (legs/feet)
Suspect Info: Not available
Officer Prettyman succumbed to injuries sustained when he was kicked in the chest by a suspect with both feet.
On December 12, 1973, off-duty Riverside Police Officer William Prettyman was driving home from the mountains after a three-day vacation with his wife and infant daughter. As he drove south on the State Route 91 freeway towards Central Avenue, in the city of Riverside, he turned to his wife and told her, “I think I’m going to faint.” Officer Prettyman was able to pull his vehicle over onto the freeway shoulder and safely stop his car before losing consciousness. Mrs. Prettyman, a Registered Nurse, pulled her husband out of the car and began administering CPR. After a few moments, an unidentified passing motorist, a woman, stopped and took over administering the heart massage while Mrs. Prettyman began emergency breathing for her husband. By chance, two Riverside Police Department detectives, Larry Fogleman and Ernie Luera, passed by the scene, saw the action being taken and stopped to assist at the scene. Luera said he did not attempt to interrupt the two women because they “had a rhythm going.” He said he did not at first realize the fallen motorist was a fellow officer from his own department. “His wife said he was a policeman,” Luera said. “I looked at his wallet and saw it was Bill (Prettyman).” Detective Luera then radioed for an ambulance, which arrived a short time later to transport Prettyman to a nearby hospital. Officer Prettyman was pronounced dead upon arrival. Officer William Prettyman first joined the Riverside Police Department as a patrolman in May, 1972, after serving as a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy, since 1970. Prior to that time, he had served two years in the U. S. Army and attended Cal State Los Angeles where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in English. The Prettyman’s had been married for a year and a half and had a daughter at the time of his death. Officer Prettyman had no known history of medical problems prior to his death. It was later determined that his death had been due to complications resulting from a blow to the chest (kicked with suspects feet) received in a fight with a suspect prior to his leaving on vacation. According to the County Coroner, “By the time the car stopped, he was unconscious. He was probably decased at that time. His wife thought he had died almost instantly.”
Officer Prettyman’s burial location is not known.