Two California Highway Patrol officers were killed Monday morning in a crash on Highway 99, near Kingsburg, about 20 miles south of Fresno.
CHP Capt. Dave Paris said the officers were killed while responding to a call of a multi-vehicle accident on Highway 99 in the Central Valley town of Kingsburg around 6 a.m. Monday.
Monday afternoon, the officers were identified by CHP as Juan Gonzalez, 33, and Officer Brian Law, 34.
Paris said the officers initially were driving southbound to the accident that had been reported on the northbound portion of Highway 99. They discovered that the collision was actually on the southbound part of the highway and that one of the persons involved was on the road.
The two officers tried to swerve out of the way, lost control of their vehicle and slammed into a guardrail.
"The officers took evasive action to avoid striking any of the parties from the previous collision," Capt. Paris said.
Both officers were pronounced dead at the scene.
All southbound lanes of Highway 99 remained closed into the afternoon as investigators reconstructed the crash.
CHP officials were meeting with the families of the two officers on Monday afternoon to work out funeral details.
Gonzalez worked in San Jose for several years before getting transferred to Fresno.
“He always had a smile, really approachable, really calm in most situations,” San Jose CHP Officer Ross Lee said. “I never saw him lose his temper.”
Law started his career in Oakland before he transferred to Fresno. His colleagues in Oakland are heart sick. They say Law will be remembered as a fun-loving workout buff, who loved his job and his family, an "all-around nice guy."
“I just want them to know, here in Oakland, we're all remembering them,” Oakland CHP Officer Sean Wilkenfeld said. “The community, as well as the officers here in Oakland, he'll never be forgotten.”
Both officers were both classmates at the CHP Academy in 2008. Officer Law leaves behind a wife and three children, according to CHP. Officer Gonzalez leaves behind a fiancee.
“They were graveyard partners and the best of friends from my understanding,” Capt. Paris said.
Law enforcement agencies across the Bay Area took to Twitter after learning the news:
Our thoughts are with @CHPCentralDiv, the families and friends of the fallen officers, and the entire CHP community.
— Palo Alto Police (@PaloAltoPolice) February 17, 2014
The sympathies of the BPD go out to our colleagues at CHP who lost two ofcrs this morning in a traffic collision near Fresno. #BelmontWatch
— Belmont Police Dept. (@belmontcapolice) February 17, 2014
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of our two fallen CHP heroes. End of Watch 02/17/14. pic.twitter.com/JYOQ5H8ZgU
— CHP Headquarters (@CHP_HQ) February 17, 2014
California Governor Brown released this statement on the deaths of the two CHP officers:
"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. We join all Californians in honoring these officers for their courage, commitment and service."
Flags at the state capitol will be flown at half-staff.