Fallen CHP officers honored with freeway sign nearly 50 years later


A dedication ceremony in Merced remembers the lives of two CHP officers killed in the line of duty.

In April 1970, Officers Walter Frago and Roger Gore were killed in a gun battle. To remember their sacrifice to public safety, the Highway Patrol named a section of Highway 99 in their honor.

A fitting tribute to two men who gave their lives protecting California highways. Officers Frago and Gore were two of four CHP officers who died in a gunbattle in Newhall on April 6, 1970.

Both lived in the Merced area, and now, 50 years later, a stretch of Highway 99 between Mission Avenue and Campus Parkway will be known as the “Walter Frago and Roger Gore Memorial Freeway.”

Both were young and married and taken far too soon.

Frago had just celebrated a wedding anniversary. His widow Nikki remembers it well. “It was our 5th wedding anniversary and Walt and I went over to the coast and had a lovely dinner and I was so in love with him.

The next night he worked the night shift and that was the night they were shot and killed,” she says.

Family and friends of the officers attended the sign dedication ceremony. Merced resident Bud Gantney met Roger Gore when they were teenagers.

“It’ll be nice to have a big sign like that and give us a feeling about how well law enforcement takes care of us and is there every day for us, ” Gantney says.

Dedicated officers putting their lives on the line, and the gratitude for that sacrifice continues five decades later. “The Highway Patrol never forgets.

The CHP never forgets. It’s been 50 years and I thank you so much,” says Nikki Frago.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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