James P. Wylie was the son of a farmer named William Wylie, who with his wife Martha raised their family in Million, Kentucky. James was born in 1881, and was the second of five children born to the couple in Madison County, Kentucky. All the Wylie children including James would serve as farm hands, helping their father toil away on the family farm.
While in his mid twenties, James moved to Los Angeles, California, which was then a budding town. On August 30, 1907, James became a Los Angeles police officer. In November 1911, Officer Wylie was a boarder living at 106 West Tenth Street.
On the morning of November 27, 1911, James P. Wylie was reporting for duty at the old Central Station, which was located at the southeast corner of First and Broadway Streets. At the time, Wylie served as the crossing officer at First and Main Street, where today’s PAB and City Hall are now located.
Wylie had just finished his breakfast on Spring Street and was reporting for Day watch around 9:00 a.m. As Wylie crossed Spring Street between Sixth and Seventh Street, he failed to see a coach traveling southbound on Spring. Wylie was struck and rendered unconscious. The force of the coach’s impact caused paralysis to Wylie’s left side. He held on tenuously to life through the day but would succumb to his injuries later that evening. Officer Krug and Greeley rushed to the gravely injured officer. Only six months earlier, Greeley had responded to the aid of another fallen officer, Arthur B. Crusey.
Officer Wylie was 29 years old when he died. He was the seventh officer killed in the line of duty and the first to die as a result of a traffic collision with a motor vehicle.
Lieutenant J. A. Macias, #27710, LAPD