Officer Roger Sterling and his partner were responding to back up another squad in pursuit of a vehicle that refused to stop. It happened around 2:25 a.m. on May 11, 1987 at the intersection of N. 32nd Street and W. Center Street, when they collided with the other squad. Officer Sterling was killed in the crash. The other officers involved in the crash were badly hurt.
A number of officers who responded to the crash were burned as they attempted to free those trapped inside the cars which had exploded and were engulfed in flames.
Officer Sterling was 31 years old at the time of his death and had served for six years.