It was a tearful and heartfelt memorial at the Sunken Gardens on November 4. It was just four years ago that Jarrod John Martinez was married to his high school sweetheart at the exact same location outside the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. He was one day shy of his one year anniversary with the California Highway Patrol when he died October 30. Martinez was only 30 years old when his motorcycle collided with a car at the intersection of Foxen Canyon Road and Steele Street in Los Olivos.
Hundreds of people gathered to say goodbye to the CHP officer, and streets were blocked off in downtown Santa Barbara as the motorcade passed by in his honor. His co-workers described Martinez as an enthusiastic and kind man who was dedicated to both his work and his family. Officer James Studebaker, an academy classmate and close friend, remembered Martinez going out of his way to make sure his family was comfortable and adjusted to Santa Barbara when they first moved. He tearfully described Martinez as “honest and brave” and said he will forever “cherish the times spent together, two new officers, trying to help each other find our way in the dark.”
Captain Jeff Sgobba remembered Martinez as “the best of the best, with boundless potential” and said that even though his death was “untimely, (Jarrod) had the unique ability to make everyone do better.”
Officer Martinez’s wife, Trisha, and daughter, four-year-old year Julia, were given strength and hope as multiple CHP officers assured the family that Julia has, in Sgobba’s words, “gained over 7,000 uniformed aunts and uncles” who will “be there for her first day of kindergarten, prom, and wedding day.”
A trust fund is being established for the family at Wells Fargo Bank.