Patrolman John Wheeler San Antonio Police Department
End of Watch: Friday, October 14, 2005
Biographical Info Age:Not available Tour of Duty: 12 yr Badge Number:Not available
Incident Details Cause of Death: Automobile accident Date of Incident: Friday, October 14, 2005 Weapon Used: Not available Suspect Info:Not available
Patrolman Wheeler was killed in an automobile accident when his patrol car was rear-ended by another vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed on Loop 410. Patrolman Wheeler was running radar at the time of the 2:00 am crash. Both vehicles burst into flames after the impact.
Patrolman Wheeler was able to send a distress signal from his radio after the collision but was trapped in the vehicle and unable to respond to dispatch. His location was identified through a GPS system installed in his patrol car. The driver of the vehicle that struck his patrol car was also killed.
Patrolman Wheeler's wife was the dispatcher on duty at the time of the accident.
Patrolman Wheeler had served with the San Antonio Police Department for 12 years. Two years earlier he had been shot and wounded in the line of duty while responding to a robbery call. He is survived by his wife.
Agency Contact Information
San Antonio Police Department
12200 S. E. Loop 410
San Antonio, TX 78221
Texas Officer Who Survived AK-47 Attack Killed On Traffic Patrol
ABE LEVY Associated Press Writer
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- A police officer who survived an attack by men with assault rifles two years ago was killed Friday morning when a speeding car slammed into the back of his parked police cruiser during a traffic patrol, engulfing both vehicles in flames.
San Antonio Officer John Wheeler, a 12-year veteran, sent a distress signal picked up by his wife, emergency dispatcher Kim Wheeler. She was also the dispatcher who took the call when Wheeler was shot in the neck and shoulder by men with AK-47s as they fled a store robbery in 2003.
Witnesses said the Chevrolet Caprice was going more than 90 mph when it hit the cruiser, said Sgt. Gabe Trevino, a department spokesman. The driver of the other car also was killed.
Wheeler, 41, is survived by his wife and two daughters.
The patrol car was one of about 600 Ford Crown Victorias used by the San Antonio Police Department's nearly 2,200-member force. Most U.S. police vehicles are Crown Victorias, which have been criticized for being vulnerable to deadly fuel tank explosions involving police cars.
An investigation into Friday's fatal wreck is under way, but nothing so far indicates the cause of this crash is related to the manufacturer, Trevino said.
''Any vehicle struck at that speed from the rear could have the same kind of performance,'' Trevino said. ''We've had other cars in rear-end collisions. We monitor it, but nothing has given us a reason to believe these cars are unsafe.''
Since 1983, at least 15 officers nationwide have died in fiery crashes after Crown Victorias were rear-ended.While such cases prompted class-action lawsuits in at least 12 states, Ford has said that dozens of Crown Victorias are struck from behind each year with no fires.
The company recommended fitting patrol cars with gas tank shields and distributed them free of charge to police departments since 2002. Ford said those steps are effective in preventing fuel-tank punctures on a car that it says meets government safety standards.
The San Antonio Police Department switched to the Crown Victoria model in 1996, said Trevino. The department has made modifications recommended by Ford in recent years, he said.
Officer John Wheeler was my cousin and life-long friend. I will be heading to Texas this coming Tuesday, October 18, 2005 to attend his service and to honor him.
Rest in peace my brother officer, cousin and friend. The Summerland has gained a new Warrior...
SAN ANTONIO PD
Sandy Gutierrez Date: October 14, 2005 Release No: 05-155
Memorial Fund Established forFallen Officer John Wheeler
A memorial fund has been established by the San Antonio Police Department for fallen Officer John Wheeler. The account is with the San Antonio City Employees Federal
Members of the San Antonio community who wish to make a donation to the fund supporting Officer Wheeler's family should contact San Antonio City Employees Federal Credit Union at (210) 229-1128. Donations can be made to:
Officer Wheeler Memorial Fund
San Antonio City Employees Federal Credit Union Account # 688810 P.O. Box 830968 San Antonio, Texas 78283-0968
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Office of the Chief of Police, Police Media Services, 214 W. Nueva, San Antonio, Texas 78207 Office Telephone (210) 207-7579, Fax (210) 207-7567, Police Dispatcher (210) 207-7484
Alcohol Contributed to Crash of San Antonio Officer
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The driver in a crash that killed him and a San Antonio police officer Friday had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit, according to the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office.
Ismael Herrera was driving more than 90 mph early Friday morning when he rear-ended a parked police cruiser with San Antonio Officer John Wheeler at the wheel. Both vehicles were engulfed in flames.
Wheeler, a 12-year veteran, had survived an attack by men with assault rifles two years earlier. His wife, Kim, is an emergency dispatcher and received the distress signal her husband sent Friday. She also took the call when Wheeler was shot in the neck and shoulder by men with AK-47s as they fled a store robbery in 2003.
Wheeler, 41, is survived by his wife and two daughters. His funeral is scheduled for Wednesday in San Antonio.