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In Remembrance of John Sandlin: Beloved husband, father and grandfather

Solano County Sheriff Deputy Killed In High-Speed Chase

UPDATED: 8:30 am PDT April 24, 2004

FAIRFIELD -- The California Highway Patrol reported Saturday night that a Solano County Sheriff was the victim of a fatal crash while pursuing a speeding vehicle. For the rest of the story, click here.


Volunteer deputy's life celebrated with honor

Posted on Thu, May 06, 2004

VALLEJO - In a memorial marked by a five-helicopter flyover and a moving eulogy from his widow, hundreds of law enforcement officers said goodbye Wednesday to a well-liked Solano County volunteer deputy killed in a high-speed pursuit.

John P. Sandlin, 66, died late April 23 after the patrol car he was driving flipped in a harrowing S-curve while he and his partner, Deputy Jason Roper, were trying to catch up with a motorist who had sped from them while they were on another call.

"I think it's more important to celebrate the life we had," said Solano Deputy Daryl Snedeker, a field training officer, before the service at the Solano County Fairgrounds horse track.

Sandlin's widow, Kay Talbot, and family members arrived in three white limousines at 9:04 a.m., bathed in bright sunshine and cool breezes under high cirrus clouds.

The helicopters flew in a V-formation over the gathering, and one shot upward and away as they reached the stage, a symbolic departure.

Chaplain Deputy W.B. Barnes read the 23rd Psalm, and state Attorney General Bill Lockyer paid tribute to Sandlin's "full, wonderful life."

Sandlin was a retired Navy lieutenant commander, a retiree from a second career in engineering and a handyman and mentor for the entire Sheriff's Office. He is survived by his wife, three daughters and seven grandchildren

"John was a remarkable person," who left his mark on the department by setting a good example and mentoring younger deputies, said county Supervisor John Silva. Sandlin often drove patrol vehicles to allow deputies to exit quickly when they arrived at incident scenes.

"I can tell you with absolute certainty that I'm a better person" for working with Sandlin for 21 years, said Sheriff Gary Stanton, who ordered retirement of Sandlin's radio call sign 1-R3 and his badge number R3. A red "R3" on a yellow background adorned a floral badge on the stage.

In a tender eulogy, Talbot, Sandlin's wife of 19 years and "my best friend for 24 years," read a classic flier's poem, honoring Sandlin's love of airplanes.

Written by John Gillespie Magee Jr., a Royal Canadian Air Force Pilot Officer in World War II, it was immortalized for a new generation when President Reagan quoted it in a tribute to the Challenger astronauts in 1986.

The poem begins, "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth," and ends with the narrator saying he put out his hand "and touched the face of God."

Reach Scott Marshall at 925-945-4745 or

Solano County Volunteer Deputy John Sandlin and his partner, Deputy Jason Roper, passed two vehicles while pursuing another late on April 23 before they crashed on Cordelia Road near the Anheuser-Busch facility. Investigators would like to talk to the motorists in those two cars. Anyone with information is asked to call 707-421-7090 or Detective Ray Lamb 707-421-7060.


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