Tulare Co deputies memorialized with new sign

FRESNO, Calif.

Monty Conley and Joe Landin were both killed following a car crash in 1985.

Longtime employees of the Tulare County Sheriff's Office say they remember the day of the crash vividly.

From now on people driving through the county will also be reminded thanks to a new sign honoring the two men.

Nearly 27 years after detectives Monty Conley and Joe Landin died together in a car crash their names are now permanent fixtures along Highway 198 in Woodlake, the town both men were from.

"Even though time will pass, there name will be there and people will say 'oh, I remember that' or 'I remember my parents talking about them'," Bette Landin, Joe Landin's widow, said.

Bette Landin and her family were joined by 150 people at the Woodlake Veterans Building Tuesday as the Sheriff's Office unveiled the sign for the first time.

"Tonight is a great honor of bringing back their memory and showing the community just remember who they were, and what they did and what they stood for," Matt Conley, Monty Conley's son, said.

Matt Conley was just seven years old when his father died.

The crash happened in the town of Pixley on August 5th, 1985.

Conley asked Landin to go with him to investigate a narcotics case. As the two drove off that morning another motorist ran a stop sign and collided with their car.

During Tuesday's dedication ceremony the detectives' surviving children struggled as they spoke about their memories from that day.

"I also remember telling my brother Joe, will you ask mom if daddy is dead."

The crowd also listened to a recording of the eulogy from their joint funeral. The voice on that tape is that of captain Jim Hinesly.

He was at work with Conley and Landin the day they died.

"It was unheard of in the state for two officers to get killed at the same time, so it shocked a lot of people," Hinesly said.

The two detectives were not just co-workers but good friends. They were buried side by side, exactly how they left this world, and how loved ones hope they'll always be remembered.

Linden had two sons and Conley had one. All three men are now part of the Tulare County Sheriff's Honor Guard.

As for the freeway sign - it took two years of planning and was introduced by Valley Congresswoman Connie Conway. The families were given replicas to have in their homes.

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