Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 23 years, 3 months, 17 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Bureau of Operational Services - Traffic Division (TD), Special Activities Group: Unit 152 - Public Safety Education Bureau
District of Incident (Present Day): Bellwood, IL
Cause of Death: Crash - Helicopter
Age at Time of Death: 52
Date of Birth: 05 May 1919
Date of Appointment: 24 Apr 1948
Date of Incident: Bellwood, IL
End of Watch: 10 Aug 1971
Date of Interment: 13 Aug 1971
Cemetery: St. Joseph Cemetery - River Grove, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 2, Lot E1/2 297 299, Block --, Section CC
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-5
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 19
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 24
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 43-E: 17
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army National Guard
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Irwin “Irv“ Francis Hayden, Star #4005, aged 52 years, was a 23 year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Bureau of Operational Services – Traffic Division (TD), Special Activities Group: Unit 152 – Public Safety Education Bureau.
On August 10, 1971, at 4:28 p.m., Officer Hayden was on duty aboard the WGN traffic helicopter in his assignment of reporting traffic conditions in the Chicago area. During the flight, his helicopter suffered an airframe failure and lost control. The helicopter was flying at a low altitude of less than 100 feet, and according to witnesses the copter repeatedly dipped and tilted to one side. Just before the crash the helicopter gained altitude and tilted to one side again. The helicopter then crashed into a 70 foot high tension wire utility pole and fell to the ground bursting into flames. The helicopter came down in a little league baseball field located at 900 Cernan Drive, Bellwood, Illinois. Both Officer Hayden and his Pilot David Demarest, age 29, were killed in the crash. Officer Hayden was transported to West Lake Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 5:20 p.m. on August 10, 1971.
A NTSB investigation revealed that the drive system of the tail rotor of the Bell 47G-2A1 helicopter malfunctioned and deprived the pilot of yaw control and directly led to the crash.
Officer Hayden was waked at Barr Funeral Home located at 6222 North Broadway Avenue. His funeral mass was held at St. Gertrude’s Catholic Church located at 1420 West Granville Avenue. He was laid to rest on August 13, 1971 in St. Joseph Cemetery, 3100 North Thatcher Avenue, River Grove, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 2, Lot E1/2 297 299, Block –, Section CC.
Patrolman Irwin Francis Hayden, born May 5, 1919, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on April 24, 1948. He received 27 Complimentary Letters during his career.
Patrolman Hayden served in the U.S. Army National Guard from March 5, 1941 thru 1945, was a veteran of World War II and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Staff Sergeant. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1945 to 1971 and was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Officer Hayden was survived by his wife, Margaret (nee Murphy), age 52; children: Margaret (Benjamin) Davis, Patricia, age 17 and Thomas, age 24; brother, Lee and granddaughter, Lori, age 4. He was preceded in death by his parents:
On May 25, 2006, Officer Hayden’s star was retired by Superintendent Philip J. Cline and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 1121 South State Street. In 2000, Chicago Police Headquarters moved to a new facility at 3510 South Michigan Avenue, Officer Hayden’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.