Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: South Park Police Department
Served: Length of Service Unknown
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Unit of Assignment Unknown
District of Incident (Present Day): 007 - Englewood
Cause of Death: Vehicular Homicide
Age at Time of Death: 40
Date of Birth: 14 Jul 1880
Date of Appointment:
Date of Incident: 007 - Englewood
End of Watch: 04 Jan 1921
Date of Interment: 06 Jan 1921
Cemetery: Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-6
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 17
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 2, Line 4
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 45-E: 10
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Park Policeman Martin Thomas Collins, Star #263, aged 40 years, was a veteran of the South Park Police Department, unit of assignment unknown.
On January 4, 1921, Officer Collins attempted to order a motor vehicle to pull over in South Park at 55th Street (Garfield Boulevard) and Racine Avenue. Officer Collins had observed the car driving Eastbound at a high rate of speed when it crashed into another vehicle at 55th Street (Garfield Boulevard) and Ashland Avenue. The car was undamaged and continued to drive east. An intoxicated motorist, David Groh of 4415 North Lincoln Avenue, while in the company of his wife, Josephine, was driving the auto. Groh was the owner of the Groh Detective Agency located at 68 West Washington Street and a former Department of Justice Agent. The car then slowed down for a crossing at Racine Avenue. Officer Collins approached the vehicle on foot, jumped on the running board and ordered Groh to pull over. Groh ignored his order and attempted to push him away from the vehicle. Officer Collins held his grip and in response Groh then deliberately pressed the accelerator and swerved his car into another parked car. Officer Collins was crushed between the two vehicles and fell to the street as the car pulled away. Officer Collins was transported to German Deaconess Hospital where he was pronounced dead on January 4, 1921.
David Groh and Josephine Groh were arrested and held by the Coroner. On January 17, 1922, they were held to the Grand Jury and indicted. On January 7, 1922, David Groh was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet by Judge Harry Fisher and Josephine Groh was acquitted. On March 10, 1923, David Groh appealed his sentence to the supreme court which was upheld by the Supreme Court Judge McKinley.
Officer Collins was waked at his residence located at 519 West 45th Place. He was laid to rest on January 6, 1921 in Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, 2755 West 111th Street, Chicago, Illinois.
Officer Martin Thomas Collins was born on July 14, 1880.
Officer Collins was survived by his wife, Agnes (nee Warde), age 33 and children: Agnes V, age 11, Anne Marie, age 5, John William, age 10, Martin, age 14 and Michael, age 3; parents: Catherine j (nee O’Brien) and Thomas N. and siblings: Catherine, Elizabeth, Johanna, Margaret M., Marie Catherine, Nellie J. and Thomas.
Incident recorded under Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database, Case #5842.
The South Park Police Department, in the City of Chicago, was disbanded on April 30, 1934. On May 1, 1934, the remaining officers were transferred to the Chicago Park District Police Department, which was organized on the same date. Three park district police departments, Lincoln, West, and South were consolidated into the Chicago Park District Police Department. Fallen Officer of the South Park Police Department are currently honored on the memorial wall of the Chicago Police Department as Chicago Police Officers. Their stars are displayed in the Honored Star Case located in the lobby of the Chicago Police Department at 3510 South Michigan Avenue.