OFFICER JERRY L. WYANT – EOW: 10-26-1976
By: Officer Mike Severance – North Precinct
On October 26, 1976, shortly before noon, Officer Jerry Wyant was on-duty and performing his duties as a Seattle Police motorcycle officer. He was travelling northbound on 1st Ave. S. approaching S. Dawson St. A large delivery truck was eastbound on S. Dawson St. Its driver, John Yazzolino, had stopped at the stop sign at 1st Ave. S. The truck proceeded east through the intersection without yielding to Officer Wyant. It hit the police motorcycle. Officer Wyant was thrown over twenty feet. His motorcycle landed on top of him. Some passing citizens lifted the motorcycle off him. Officer Wyant sustained severe head injuries. He was transported to Harborview Medical Center where he died at 3:20 p.m. while undergoing surgery. Officer Jerry Wyant was survived by his widow, Connie, a daughter, Wendie, and two sons, John and Steve. John Yazzolino was charged with failure to yield the right of way, a crime in 1976.
Jerry Lee Wyant was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma on September 2, 1945. He graduated from Ingraham High School in 1963. Jerry worked at the Lake City and Northgate theaters before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. He attended boot camp at Lackland AFB in Texas. After boot camp, he returned to Seattle where he married Constance Marie Griffin on June 12, 1964. He was then stationed at MacDill AFB in Florida. Jerry was honorably discharged in 1967, and he was commissioned as a Seattle police officer on December 11, 1967. At the time of his death, the family lived at 2849 S. 152nd St.
As a rookie officer, I partnered with Jerry for a few shifts. He was a great cop, and he always had a smile on his face.
In January 1998, Chief of Police Norm Stamper nominated forty-nine Seattle police officers for the Washington Law Enforcement Medal of Honor. The officers had been killed in the line of duty between 1881 and 1976. Nine of those nominations were rejected. Officer Jerry Wyant’s nomination was one of those rejected. In 2012 and 2013, he was re-nominated, but the Chief of Police would not endorse the nominations and forward them to the Medal of Honor Committee.