The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Akasha Spino-Bybee
Reporter 

Highway 14 dedication sought for officer killed 29 years ago

 


Ever since man discovered alcohol, its effects have caused hundreds of thousands of people harm, as people tend to have a little too much of it. Approximately 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States. In 2013, drunk driving accounted for 30.8 precent of these deaths. It is a terrible thing, witnessing how such a preventable problem can affect so many lives—especially when it pulls on the heartstrings by taking the life of an innocent bystander.

“I was 15 years old when Deputy McNabb was killed by a drunk driver,” says Henry Griffith, who spent his adolescence in Lyle. “Deputy McNabb served the sheriff’s department. I remember him as a guy who was good for the community and its youth. He was friendly and always approached people with a ‘How can I help?’ tact. I remember school being canceled the day he died because Highway 14 was closed for investigation. I have since moved around the country, as my job requires me to travel a lot, and everywhere I go I see highways, bridges, streets, and so forth named for fallen law enforcement officers.”

That got Griffith to wondering why something hadn’t been done for McNabb. “After seeing signs for other fallen officers, I thought this would be a good way to honor him and always wished it had been done,” Griffith says. “So I decided that rather than wishing for it to be done, I’d get it done. Little did I know, this would be no easy task.”

Griffith began writing letters to several elected officials of Washington State, such as senators, representatives, and County Commissioners, asking for their help with the memorialization. Griffith was asked to gather the letters of support he had received and submit them to the Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC). After contacting Bobbie Garver, the administrative assistant for the WSTC, it was said that there has been no final request made by Griffith to further the process. He agrees with this statement and says it is in its final stages—it could happen in a matter of weeks.

“The drunk driver who killed McNabb on April 17, 1986, while he was on active duty, was convicted and served some time in prison,” says Griffith. “He was released in 1992, when McNabb would have been 31 years old.”

A section of Highway 14 between Lyle and Dallesport was chosen for the possible renaming because that is where McNabb’s last patrol ended.

Although many years have passed since that tragic day, Griffith wants to make sure McNabb is forever remembered for the contributions he made to his county.

 

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