A four-mile stretch of Highway 111 in Palm Springs will be renamed for two local police officers killed in the line of duty last fall, but more than $5,000 is being sought in private donations to produce signage dedicated to the fallen officers.

The Police Officer Jose `Gil’ Vega and Police Officer Lesley Zerebny Memorial Highway, named for the Palm Springs officers shot and killed last Oct. 8 while responding to a family disturbance call, will run from Overture Drive to West San Rafael Drive.

Funding is being sought to cover the $6,885.97 cost of producing signs marking the memorial stretch for drivers as they enter Palm Springs. So far, $1,500 has been raised.

“While we can never repay Officers Vega and Zerebny for their sacrifice, this memorial highway will honor their dedication to protecting the people of Palm Springs,” said Assemblyman Chad Mayes, R-Yucca Valley, who proposed the highway dedication earlier this year. “I’m proud that California is giving these heroes the recognition they deserve.”

Donations for the signs can be made online at www.palmspringspoa.com or dropped off in person at the Palm Springs Police Department, 200 S. Civic Drive.

The deaths of Vega and Zerebny marked the first time Palm Springs police officers had been killed in the line of duty since Jan. 1, 1962, when Officer Lyle Wayne Larrabee died during a vehicle pursuit. The only other death in the department was that of Officer Gale Gene Eldridge, who was fatally shot on Jan. 18, 1961, while investigating an armed robbery.

Vega had been with the department for 35 years — five years past his retirement eligibility — and had planned to finish his career last December. He is survived by his wife, Susana, eight children, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Zerebny had been with the department for a year and a half and had just returned to duty from maternity leave after the birth of a daughter, Cora, four months before her death. She is also survived by her husband, Zachary.

–City News Service

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