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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 8:12 pm | Fair 49º


Community, Colleagues Mourn Fallen CHP Officer

Hundreds gather in Santa Barbara to reflect on the life of Jarrod Martinez, a husband, father and friend

Hundreds of community members and public safety officers attended a memorial service for fallen California Highway Patrol Officer Jarrod John Martinez on Wednesday at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden.

Martinez was on-duty last Thursday when he died after a car collided with his motorcycle. Martinez, who was on his way home to Buellton from traffic court, was driving on Foxen Canyon Road in Los Olivos when a driver turned into his lane, ejecting the officer from his bike. He died at the scene.

Chief Adam Cuevas, commander of CHP’s Coastal Division, said Martinez got out of traffic court a few minutes early and went to see his mother while waiting for another officer to finish his court time.

“What a thoughtful son,” he said. “Little did they realize that was the last time they’d see each other.”

Although Martinez was just two days short of his one-year anniversary with the CHP, Cuevas said his time with the agency was treasured.

“I believe it’s safe to say Jarrod touched all of us in a special way,” Cuevas said. “We miss you, and we will never forget you.”

Martinez is survived by his wife, Patricia, and their 4-year-old daughter, Julia. His mother and father, June and Rudy Martinez, and sister Jessica also attended Wednesday’s service. The courthouse location was chosen by Martinez’s wife because it’s where they exchanged their wedding vows.

Officer James Studebaker, one of Martinez’s friends and academy classmates, said “he was the epitome of someone who lives life to the fullest.”

California Highway Patrol Capt. Jeff Sgobba walks Patricia Martinez to her limo after Wednesday's memorial service for her husband, Jarrod, who died last week in a traffic accident.
Capt. Jeff Sgobba walks Patricia Martinez to her limo after Wednesday’s memorial service for her husband, Jarrod, who is also survived by their 4-year-old daughter, Julia. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

The pair worked the graveyard shift together, as new recruits just trying to learn the ropes.

“We spent a lot of long hours together, learning from each other, sometimes just trying to figure out what we were doing,” he said. “I’ll forever cherish the time we spent together as two new officers, just trying to help each other find our way through the dark.”

Capt. Jeff Sgobba, Martinez’s commander, also spoke after singing a moving rendition of Amazing Grace while playing his guitar.

Sgobba recounted how Martinez had taken a cut in pay as an auto mechanic to go to work for the CHP and joined the academy last April.

Martinez was a San Marcos High School graduate who already knew most of the roadways and landmarks, and Sgobba likened the office receiving Martinez as a recruit to “winning the jackpot.”

He was also praised by the District Attorney’s Office on his first fatal collision investigation, which resulted in a 21-year sentence.

At just 30 years old, Martinez showed endless potential, Sgobba said. “We as a squad and as a community ache from his loss,” he said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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