2 Calif. Highway Patrol officers killed in crash

This is the scene on state Route 99 where two California Highway Patrol officers were killed in a vehicle accident in Kingsburg, Calif., Monday, Feb. 17, 2014. CHP identified the officers as Brian Law and Juan Gonzalez. Their squad car flipped over Monday while responding to a multi-vehicle crash. (AP Photo/The Fresno Bee, Mark Crosse)

This is the scene on state Route 99 where two California Highway Patrol officers were killed in a vehicle accident in Kingsburg, Calif., Monday, Feb. 17, 2014. CHP identified the officers as Brian Law and Juan Gonzalez. Their squad car flipped over Monday while responding to a multi-vehicle crash. (AP Photo/The Fresno Bee, Mark Crosse)

In this undated photo released by the California Highway Patrol is Officer Brian Law. The California Highway Patrol was mourning the loss of two officers Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, after their squad car flipped over while responding to a multi-vehicle crash. Officers Brian Law and Juan Gonzalez were heading to the crash on state Route 99 near the Central Valley town of Kingsburg, Calif., the CHP said. (AP Photo/California Highway Patrol)

In this undated photo released by the California Highway Patrol is Officer Brian Law. The California Highway Patrol was mourning the loss of two officers Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, after their squad car flipped over while responding to a multi-vehicle crash. Officers Brian Law and Juan Gonzalez were heading to the crash on state Route 99 near the Central Valley town of Kingsburg, Calif., the CHP said. (AP Photo/California Highway Patrol)

KINGSBURG, Calif. (AP) - The California Highway Patrol was mourning the loss of two officers Monday after their squad car flipped over while responding to a multi-vehicle crash.

Officers Brian Law, 34, of Clovis, and Juan Gonzalez, 33, of Fresno, were heading to the crash on state Route 99 near the Central Valley town of Kingsburg when they swerved to avoid a person in the road and lost control of the vehicle, the CHP said.

California Gov. Jerry Brown and first lady Anne Gust Brown sent their regards Monday to the fallen officers and their loved ones. Flags will be flown at half-staff at the State Capitol in Sacramento.

"Anne and I extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of Officers Law and Gonzalez as they mourn the tragic loss of these dedicated public servants," Brown said in a written statement. "We join all Californians in honoring these officers for their courage, commitment and service."

Law and Gonzalez were traveling southbound to get to the crash, CHP Capt. Dave Paris said.

The original pre-dawn collision about 25 miles southeast of Fresno was initially reported on the northbound side of the divided highway, Paris said. The officers soon realized, however, that the crash scene was actually in the southbound lanes, and one the drivers involved was on the road, Paris said.

Gonzalez, who was driving, swerved out of the way, and the squad car hit a guardrail and struck the pylon of a freeway exit sign, said Officer Axel Reyes, a CHP spokesman.

The original crash apparently occurred when a pickup truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into the center divider, the CHP said. It came to rest in the wrong direction with its lights off, setting off a chain-reaction collision.

"Prior to our arrival, it appears another vehicle may have hit the truck" and came to rest a short distance away, CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow told reporters in a briefing at the crash site.

"We're not sure if the officers ... thought the crash was further down the road," Farrow said. "(But) as they approached the scene, they lost control of their vehicle. They hit the guardrail and ultimately hit the sign."

It is standard procedure for the two officers to be in the same car because they were working the graveyard shift, said Reyes, the CHP spokesman. Both Law and Gonzalez were wearing their seat belts, said Paris, the CHP captain.

The two officers graduated from the CHP academy in 2008. They are the first officers from the Fresno CHP office to die in the line of duty since Jerry E. Turre was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while laying flares at an accident scene in 1962, according to CHP records.

Farrow said Law and Gonzalez were good friends and partners who trained together. Now, their colleagues from across the state have to deal with their loss.

"It's draining - a lot of the officers are drained," Reyes said. "Officers are having a tough time - some more than others."

Law started his career in Oakland before transferring to Fresno about a year ago to be closer to his wife and three kids, said Officer Sean Wilkenfeld, a CHP spokesman who worked with Law in Oakland.

"He was just a really fun, easygoing guy," Wilkenfeld said. "He was sort of quiet, big into sports, and always willing to help out."

Before transferring to the Fresno area in 2010, Gonzalez worked for CHP in San Jose for two years. He is survived by his mother, a sister and a girlfriend.

CHP Officer Ross Lee, who worked the graveyard shift with Gonzalez in San Jose, said Gonzalez, who had served as a field training officer, was a good mentor.

"He was a great guy with a very calm demeanor, a good officer who took the time to make sure he and others did their jobs correctly," Lee said. "A stand up guy."

Wilkenfeld said both officers will be missed by the entire CHP.

"I can't count how many lives they made better," Wilkenfeld said. "This is a huge loss for us and the communities they served. We know what we do can be dangerous."

The CHP's accident reconstruction teams remained at the site Monday afternoon to scour for evidence. One southbound lane was open and traffic was moving slowly, the CHP said.

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Comments » 9

MyJesusMercy writes:

prayers to all involved in the latest of Fresno accidents may all people that perished from these, thru the Mercy of God may they all rest in peace and peace to the families

FormerNPer writes:

"While responding to a call of a collision on SR-99 near Kingsburg early this morning, two California Highway Patrol Officers were involved in a collision which claimed both of their lives. There are emergency crews still on scene and the investigation is ongoing. We will try to give more information when we know more.

This is a very sad day for us at the CHP as we say goodbye to two valued members of our family. These were dedicated officers who gave their lives serving the people of California. They now join a distinguished group of heroes whose names are engraved upon the CHP Memorial Fountain and who will forever be remembered for their valiant sacrifice and service.

Officer Juan Gonzalez, #18935, and Officer Brian Law, #18896, were classmates at the CHP Academy in 2008. Officer Gonzalez, 33, went to work in the CHP San Jose Area before transferring to the Fresno Area. Officer Law, 34, started his career in Oakland before transferring to the Fresno Area. The officers were working together as partners in the same car when the collision occurred.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and friends in this time of mourning."

https://www.facebook.com/CHPHQ

God Bless those who serve and give the ultimate sacrifice.

FormerNPer writes:

Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.

--Matthew 5:9

FormerNPer writes:

When God Made Peace Officers -- author unknown

When the Lord was creating peace officers, he was into his sixth day of
overtime when an angel appeared and said, "You're doing a lot of fiddling
around on this one." And the Lord said, "Have you read the specs on this
order?

A peace officer has to be able to run five miles through alleys in the dark,
scale walls, enter homes the health inspector wouldn't touch, and not wrinkle
his uniform.

"He has to be able to sit in an undercover car all day on a stakeout, cover a
homicide scene that night, canvass the neighborhood for witnesses, and
testify in court the next day.

"He has to be in top physical condition at all times, running on black coffee
and half-eaten meals. And he has to have six pairs of hands."

The angel shook her head slowly and said, "Six pairs of hands... no way."

"It's not the hands that are causing me problems," said the Lord, "it's the
three pairs of eyes an officer has to have."

"That's on the standard model?" asked the angel.

The Lord nodded. One pair that sees through a bulge in a pocket before he
asks, "May I see what's in there, sir?" (When he already knows and wishes
he'd taken that accounting job.) "Another pair here in the side of his head
for his partners' safety. And another pair of eyes here in front that can
look reassuringly at a bleeding victim and say, 'You'll be all right ma'am,
when he knows it isn't so."

"Lord," said the angel, touching his sleeve, "rest and work on this tomorrow."

"I can't," said the Lord, "I already have a model that can talk a 250 pound
drunk into a patrol car without incident and feed a family of five on a civil
service paycheck."

The angel circled the model of the peace officer very slowly, "Can it think?"
she asked.

"You bet," said the Lord. "It can tell you the elements of a hundred crimes;
recite Miranda warnings in its sleep; detain, investigate, search, and arrest
a gang member on the street in less time than it takes five learned judges to
debate the legality of the stop... and still it keeps its sense of humor.

This officer also has phenomenal personal control. He can deal with crime
scenes painted in hell, coax a confession from a child abuser, comfort a
murder victim's family, and then read in the daily paper how law enforcement
isn't sensitive to the rights of criminal suspects."

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the peace
officer. "There's a leak,"she pronounced. "I told you that you were trying to
put too much into this model."

"That's not a leak," said the lord, "it's a tear."

"What's the tear for?" asked the angel.

"It's for bottled-up emotions, for fallen comrades, for commitment to that
funny piece of cloth called the American flag, for justice."

"You're a genius," said the angel.

The Lord looked somber. "I didn't put it there," he said.

ms_reason writes:

Thank you FormerNper for writing your posts. It is very sad indeed for the CHP.

Rest in Peace Officers and our prayers go out to your family, loved ones, friends, and all Law Enforcement who put their lives on the line every day.

Piru_T writes:

Thank you NPer,

My heart sank when I read this, having a friend who is a CHP officer out of that very district.

Very sad to read about this, as it is very sad to read about any fatal crash, all are equally tragic to me.

CaptainAmerica writes:

This is a terrible tragedy. My condolences to the families.

Doxster writes:

My condolences to the bereaved.

Cy writes:

Take care out there NP.

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