Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 14 years, 0 months, 21 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 2nd District - Central
District of Incident (Present Day): 001 - Central
Cause of Death: Crash - Automobile
Age at Time of Death: 41
Date of Birth: 02 Aug 1887
Date of Appointment: 12 Nov 1914
Date of Incident: 01 Apr 1928
End of Watch: 03 Dec 1928
Date of Interment: 06 Dec 1928
Cemetery: Calvary Cemetery - Evanston, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot N19, Block 27, Section Y
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-12
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 4
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall:
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 16-W: 28
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman James Richard Mescall, Star #2245, aged 41 years, was a 14 year, 0 month, 21 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 2nd District – Central.
On April 1, 1925, Officer Mescall and his partner were on duty driving in their detective Cadillac patrol car. As they were driving a Rolls Royce struck them from behind at 39th Street and Lake Park Avenue. The car that struck them, a Rolls Royce limousine driven by an intoxicated chauffeur, was attempting to pass them at a high rate of speed. Officer Mescall was thrown from the squad car onto the street and struck his head on the pavement. Mescall’s injuries were so severe, that he was prevented from returning to active duty and suffered from debiltating headaches. His partner, the driver, lost an ear in the collision. Three years later, Officer Mescall suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died on December 3, 1928 as a result of the crash.
Officer Mescall’s death was declared accidental by a Coroner’s jury.
Officer Mescall was waked at his residence located at 7621 South Sangamon Street. His funeral mass was held in Requiem at St. Leo Church located at 7747 South Emerald Avenue. He was laid to rest on December 6, 1928 in Calvary Cemetery, 301 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois. His grave is located on the North Line, Rear, Cement Vault in Lot N19, Block 27, Section Y.
Patrolman James Richard Mescall, born August 2, 1887, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on November 13, 1914. He earned 3 Credible Mentions and 2 Extra Compensations for Meritorious Conduct totaling $360.00 during his career. Officer Mescall was frequently photograph and mentioned in newspaper articles as a policeman. He was a heroic figure on the Department and was one of the first responders to the Eastland Disaster. In 1920, he was called to handle the murder scene of “Big Jim” Colosimo. His notoriety gained him an invitation to join an elite squad of policemen commanded by Chief of Detectives Michael Hughes. The unit pursued gangland public enemies.
Officer Mescall was survived by his wife, Margaret Loretto (nee McKain); children: James Edward (CPD), age 10, and Mary Catherine, age 13; mother, Kate (nee Brooks); siblings: Mrs. Bridget Falsey, Mr. Mary King, Patrick and Peter and Cousins: Larry King (CPD) and Tim King (CFD). Mary went on to marry a Chicago Policeman, Detective Martin F. Walsh. His son, James became a Chicago Police Officer and served from 1946 to 1981.
Chicago Police Department homicide file not found for this incident.
Officer Mescall was witness to two historic events in Chicago. On May 11, 1920, he stood guard over the body of Big Jim Colosimo at his restaurant located at 2120 South Wabash. Colosimo’s demise coincided with the beginning of Prohibition and paved the way for the ascendancy of gangsters Johnny Torio and Al Capone in Chicago. On July 24, 1915, he was also first on scene of the Eastland Disaster, a crowded excursion steamer which capsized in the Chicago River between Clark and LaSalle Streets.
On March 2, 2010, Officer Mescall’s star was retired by Superintendent Jody P. Weis and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 South Michigan Avenue.