It may have taken nearly 54 years to honor a California Highway Patrol officer who served in Merced County, but officials made it right Monday during an annual ceremony.
The Merced County Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony honored Officer Leonard Layton, a Los Banos officer who died Nov. 8, 1964, in a solo-vehicle crash during heavy rain, according to Lt. John Martinho.
The 26-year-old Layton served with CHP previously in the northern part of the state before working out of the Los Banos office, according to officers. He was headed to Eureka to testify in a trial when his car went off of Highway 101 and over an embankment about 10 miles north of Ukiah, Martinho said.
The officer was taken to a Ukiah-area hospital and died "a short time" later, he said.
Layton left behind his wife, Pamela, and 3-year-old son Keith, according to officers. His father, also named Leonard, was also a CHP officer.
Merced County Sheriff Deputy Daryl Allen said he found the account of Layton's death about eight months ago, and made the moves to get his name chiseled into the memorial.
During Monday's ceremony, speakers read off the names of Merced County peace officers who have died on duty since 1914.