Fallen Officers Project seeks to rename Argonne overpass in honor of deputy killed in 1961

The Spokane Area Fallen Officers Project hopes to rename the Argonne overpass across Interstate 90 in honor of Deputy Joseph M. O’Connor, who was killed in 1961 while directing traffic.

The nonprofit is requesting letters of support from Spokane residents to rename the overpass. The project committee is working with elected officials, community members and the state Department of Transportation.

O’Connor was struck and killed by a drunk driver at 4:30 a.m. on August 4. On January 13, 1961, a deputy directs traffic at the scene of the accident near the Argonne interchange. He is 37 years old.

O’Connor was thrown 300 feet and died instantly. The 24-year-old driver who attacked him was later convicted of homicide.

O’Connor is a military veteran who served in World War II.

He leaves behind a wife and three children. His three children are still in Spokane, and one of his grandchildren is waiting to become a deputy in the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

The council has placed four commemorative signs and plans to install another 21 in the coming years. It erects four monuments in Spokane, dedicated to Sheriff’s Deputy James Slater, Spokane Police Sgt. Robbin Best, Washington State Patrol Ivan Belka and Sheriff Lt. John “JD” Anderson.

Letters may be sent to the Spokane Area Fallen Officer Project at sswalker@spokanepolice.org or 1100 W. Mallon Avenue, Spokane, WA 99260.

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