Remembering the Fallen: Officer Robert Wirht

Officer Robert Wirht was killed on September 8, 1988, while on a police motorcycle pursuing a speeding motorist, and then being struck by another errant motorist in traffic.

On September 8, 1988, Officer Wirht was assigned to the Traffic Enforcement Unit as a motor officer. He was considered by his peers to be one of the best riders on the department.  At approximately 2000 hours, Officer Wirht was conducting radar enforcement activities on San Felipe and Fowler Road.  Officer Wirht’s radar gun detected a car traveling north on San Felipe Road at an excessive speed. Officer Wirht pulled away from his position on the side of the road and began to accelerate after the vehicle.

Moments earlier, another vehicle stop was made just north of Officer Wirht’s position. As traffic approached the scene of the other car stop, drivers began to slow in order to pass safely. Unfortunately, a driver traveling in the number two lane did not observe the traffic slowing just ahead of her. In a last minute attempt to avoid a rear-end collision, the driver veered into the number one lane, and into Officer Wirht’s path. Officer Wirht attempted to stop, but his motorcycle collided with the rear of the vehicle. As a result of the collision, Officer Wirht suffered severe head trauma.  Officer Wirht was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after his arrival.

Officer Wirht was the seventh San Jose Police Officer killed in the line of duty.