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Ralph M. Steed
South Norfolk Police Department
Killed in the Line of Duty – June 7, 1962
|Medal of Honor||South Norfolk Police Badge|
Ralph Michael Steed was born in Patterson, New Jersey, on August 5, 1926. Steed later moved to Greensboro, North Carolina where he was raised by his grandmother.
Steed was actively involved in the Armed Forces and enlisted in the U. S. Army following the outbreak of hostilities during World War II. Steed served in many capacities of the Army and was honorably discharged in 1945. Steed received an award in recognition of his devoted and selfless consecration to the service of mankind.
In the late 1940's Steed moved to Virginia where he resided in the 900 block of Freeman Avenue with his wife, Marjorie Steed, and their two children, Cecelia, age 13 and Chris, age 10. Steed owned and operated an automobile shop located at the intersection of Freeman Avenue and Bainbridge Blvd.
He spent much of his time racing cars, motorcycles and go-carts. As a former member of NASCAR, Steed could frequently be seen driving Daredevil cars around South Norfolk.
In the mid 1950's Steed was employed with the South Norfolk Fire Department. He was a fire fighter with the Department approximately five years before joining the South Norfolk Police Department in 1959.
Steed was appointed to the South Norfolk Police Department as a patrolman and served the people of South Norfolk for the three years that followed. Steed went through South Norfolk's first dog school and became a K-9 handler. Further in his career with the Police Department, Steed became a detective.
On June 7, 1962, at approximately 12:10 a.m., Detective Steed and his partner, Patrolman H. P. Bayly were finishing their night's duty. As the two officers approached the intersection of Liberty Street and Atlantic Avenue, they were met by an oncoming vehicle racing towards them at speeds up to 95 miles per hour. The driver of the vehicle, a 20 year old male, was absent without leave from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Norfolk Police had been following the suspect for 4 - 1/2 miles. The suspect, in an attempt to escape from Norfolk Police, approached the intersection, lost control of his vehicle and struck the police vehicle containing Detective Steed and Patrolman Bayly.
Detective Steed was pronounced dead at Norfolk General Hospital four hours after the head on crash.
The suspect was charged with manslaughter, hit and run, reckless driving, driving without a registration card and driving without a license.
Detective Ralph Michael Steed was killed in the line of duty on June 7, 1962, while in the performance of his fundamental duties of serving mankind, safeguarding lives and property.