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WSP Marks 68th Anniversary Of Trooper Killed In Spokane Valley

Courtesy of Washington State Patrol

The Washington State Patrol this year is revisiting the deaths of 31 troopers who lost their lives while on duty during the agency’s first hundred years of service.

Today [Monday] is the 68th anniversary of the death of a trooper who was killed in what is now Spokane Valley. The agency says Trooper John Wright was standing on the shoulder of the road at Sprague and Barker. He and a motorist were talking a few feet off the roadway. It was early in the morning, June 28, 1953, when a car driven by 20-year-old airman Joseph V. Nolin hit Wright and threw him about 25 yards. Nolin fled. Wright was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital but passed away within a few hours at the age of 28. Around that time, officers located Nolin and arrested him. He was found to have alcohol in his system after the collision. He told them he thought he’d hit the support structure of a bridge.

John Wright was a native of Hawaii. When he turned 18 he joined the Army Air Force and served three years in World War II. A few years after leaving the service, he trained to become a trooper and was sent to Spokane. He left behind a wife and two young sons.

Forty-five years after his passing he was awarded Washington’s Law Enforcement Medal of Honor.