Jacob Castroll, an avid mountain bike rider and reserve deputy at the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, died unexpectedly while participating in the Aug. 11 World Police and Fire Games near Castaic Lake.
The 67-year-old resident of Newbury Park fell while competing in a downhill mountain bike race at the games and died a hospital soon after, according to a statement from the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs.
The games are an Olympic-style event involving 10,000 athletes from firefighting and law enforcement agencies worldwide.
Castroll, a keen mountain biker who only two years ago rode 250 miles from New Jersey to Washington D.C. in honor of a Ventura County sheriff’s deputy killed in the line of duty, was found unresponsive by another rider, the sheriff’s association said.
According to the Los Angeles County coroner website, the death was an accident caused by blunt-force trauma to the head and neck. It’s unclear what made Castroll fall from the bike.
Born in the former Soviet Union, Castroll moved to the U.S. for college. He and his wife, Rody, were married for 47 years.
The owner of a Studio City- based insurance brokerage, Castroll began volunteering with the Lost Hills Sheriff Station in Calabasas in 2010.
In an interview with The Acorn in 2014 to discuss his participation in the 250-mile Policy Unity Tour, Castroll said he was inspired to volunteer for the sheriff’s department after a major fire threatened his then-home in Calabasas.
The father of three dedicated his 2014 ride to Ventura County Sheriff’s Dep. Eugene Kostiuchenko, who was struck and killed by a drunk driver the year before on the 101 Freeway while walking to his car after completing a traffic stop in Camarillo.
“Being on the inside, I can see the hard work and dedication police officers put into their jobs,” Castroll told The Acorn. “People often forget that police officers, day in and day out, put their lives on the line to protect their communities.”
He served as a civilian volunteer at the Lost Hills station for a year and then attended the academy so he could become a sworn deputy.
In addition to patrolling the local community, Castroll volunteered at DUI checkpoints and at the LASD sheriff’s academy.
“Jacob was a good man, and he had a warm heart with good moral and ethical character,” said LASD Reserve Deputy Amin Ballout, who worked with Castroll.
“He was a man of integrity and dedication. This was one of his most valuable character traits, his willingness to help anyone, anytime, anyplace he could,” Ballout said.
Castroll also worked in weapons training, investigations and search and rescue.
“His passing came as a shock to everybody. He was a gentleman in every aspect—and he was healthy,” Ballout said.
Castroll is survived by his wife and three children, Victor, Lea and Rica.
His funeral took place Aug. 14 at Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles.