LANCASTER – Thirty-five years ago today, Deputy Sheriff Gregory L. Low and Reserve Deputy Sheriff Charles Plumleigh were on their way to a burglary-in-progress call when their patrol car collided with a second patrol car in a Lancaster intersection.
Low, 30, died on the day of the accident and Plumleigh, 21, died a few days later.
Deputies from the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station on Tuesday erected a memorial at the Lancaster intersection to honor and remember the fallen officers on the anniversary of the accident.
“This is a memorial that we’ve done every year for the past few years to honor deputy Lowe and reserve deputy Plumleigh who were tragically killed in an auto accident here at 30th West and Avenue K on Feb. 26, 1978,” said Lancaster Community Relations deputy Michael Rust.
As part of the daylong tribute, deputies stood guard at the memorial, which included flowered wreaths and photographs of the officers mounted on easels.
“From 6 in the morning until 6 at night, we’ll have at least two deputies standing at attention here, and they’re rotating every 30 minutes,” Rust said. “Everybody is driving by honking their horns, and we appreciate their support.”
Students from the nearby Bethel Christian School came by the memorial to offer support for the fallen officers. The students came by in groups and shook hands with the officers standing guard, and then they held hands and prayed for the safety of local law enforcement.
“They need to remember that police officers are here to serve and protect us, and it’s a dangerous job,” said Bethel Christian Vice Principal Marilyn Ayers. “You make a 9-1-1 call and they come, regardless of the danger, and we want to remember that and honor that.”
“This is a teachable moment for our students,” Ayers added.
Officials hope Tuesday’s memorial will serve as a teachable moment for the public, as well.
“To let the public know that the ultimate sacrifice was paid,” Rust said.