Officer Juan Gonzalez California Highway Patrol, California End of Watch: Monday, February 17, 2014

Officer Juan Gonzalez | California Highway Patrol, CaliforniaCalifornia Highway Patrol, California

Officer Juan Gonzalez

California Highway Patrol, California
End of Watch: Monday, February 17, 2014

Biographical Info

Age: 33
Tour of Duty: 6 years
Badge Number: 18935

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Automobile accident
Date of Incident: February 17, 2014
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available

Agency Contact Information

Commissioner Joseph Farrow
California Highway Patrol
PO Box 942898
Sacramento, CA 94298
Phone: (916) 657-7261

Officer Juan Gonzalez and Officer Brian Law were killed in a single vehicle crash while responding to an accident call on Highway 99, near Bethel Avenue, in Kingsburg at approximately 6:00 am.
Both officers were riding in the same cruiser responding to the accident, which had been incorrectly reported in the northbound lanes of Highway 99. As they responded to the scene they came upon the accident in the southbound lanes with one of the victims in their travel lane. The patrol car swerved in an attempt to avoid striking the victim, struck the guardrail, and overturned.
They both suffered fatal injuries in the crash.
Officer Gonzalez had served with the California Highway Patrol for six years.

KINGSBURG, Calif. (KFSN) — The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has identified the two fallen officers as Brian Law and Juan Gonzalez.

The California Highway Patrol said two officers were killed in the line of duty on Monday in Fresno County. They were killed while responding to a 911 call of a crash on Highway 99 in Kingsburg.

The first crash happened when the driver of a pickup truck spun out and crashed into the center divider. The driver of the truck walked away from the crash, but the CHP officers who came to save him did not.

Juan Gonzalez, 33, was driving his partner and best friend, Brian Law, 34, to the accident, but dispatch told them it was on the other side of the freeway — so the pickup surprised them. The officers crashed into the pickup truck and were killed.

"The officers took evasive actions to avoid striking any of the parties from the previous collision, lost control of the vehicle, struck the guardrail and severely crashed," said Capt. Dave Paris, CHP.

The California Highway Patrol’s top administrator, Joe Farrow, came all the way from Sacramento to see the crash scene in person. Gonzalez and Law are the 10th and 11th CHP officers to die in the line of duty in his 6 years as commissioner. "You take the best precautions you possibly can, you train well, you give them the best equipment, but this is and always will be a dangerous occupation," said Farrow.

Commissioner Farrow said it will be weeks, if not months, before they issue a final report on the collision and its cause.

The CHP and Caltrans shut down a section of southbound Highway 99 for nearly nine hours on Monday. The accident happened at 6 a.m. cars and big rigs were backed up for miles as they were rerouted from the Mountain View exit to Sierra Avenue in Kingsburg. The CHP shut down an area of southbound 99 because the accident scenes spread across all lanes of the highway.

The CHP MAIT team is investigating the crash the team is very thorough and can sometimes take months conducting their investigation, so every piece of evidence, every tire mark and chunk of debris is important.

"From what we gather a couple hundred feet and that’s also including the first crash they’re gathering measurements from that first one as well," Axel Reyes with the California Highway Patrol said.

The CHP’s major accident investigation team spent all day looking into the crash, even after Highway 99 reopened at 2:30 p.m.

Officer Brian Law and his close friend, Officer Juan Gonzalez, were partners on the overnight shift.

"They were classmates together," said CHP Captain Dave Paris. "They attended 27 weeks of training at the academy together, became good friends."

Their commander says they responded to a 911 call for several wrecks on Highway 99. The initial reports put the crashes on the northbound lanes, but the CHP says Officer Gonzalez swerved, surprised by the crash in the southbound lanes.

"This is, and always will be a very dangerous occupation," said CHP Commander Joe Farrow.

On Monday, every officer across the state was wearing a black band over their badge to remember the officers lost. Governor Jerry Brown sent his condolences and ordered all state flags to fly at half-staff.

Both officers worked for the CHP in the Bay Area before coming to Fresno just over a year ago. Law started his patrols in Oakland. "He was low key," said Officer Sean Wilkenfeld. "As I said he loved to workout, into sports. He was just a standup guy."

Law lived in Clovis and leaves behind a wife and three young children.

Juan Gonzalez lived in Fresno and began his patrols in San Jose. "Always taking care of his responsibilities, any calls that he handled," said Officer Ross Lee. "[He] never seemed to have any type of bad attitude about any aspect of the job."

Gonzalez attended Fresno State, and was a member of the Nu Alpha Kappa fraternity. The organization is remembering his life on the fraternity Facebook page.

"They know every day they get in a patrol car driving or responding to a 911 call that they could become victims of an assault or traffic collision," CHP Capt. Paris said. "It’s always in their mind."

The California Highway Patrol says the last officer to die on the job in the central division was in 2005. Officer Erick Manny was killed in a rollover crash in Southern California near the Grapevine. But in the Central Valley, the last CHP officer to die in the line of duty was in 1980.

Officer Donald Holloway, 37, was a licensed private pilot. He was using his personal aircraft to fly to a court appearance where he was testifying in a criminal case. Holloway was returning to his home in Coalinga when his aircraft crashed, killing him instantly. Donald Holloway had been a member of the CHP for 11 years.


PRESS RELEASE: Governor Brown Issues Statement on Deaths of Two CHP Officers

SACRAMENTO Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement regarding the deaths of California Highway Patrol Officers Brian Law and Juan Gonzalez:

"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."

Law, 34, of Clovis, and Gonzalez, 33, of Fresno, were killed in a collision while responding to a crash on Highway 99 in Kingsburg this morning.

Officers Law and Gonzalez were assigned to CHP’s Fresno Area Office. Following their graduation from the Academy in April 2008, Officer Gonzalez was assigned to the CHP’s San Jose Area Office before transferring to the Fresno Area Office in May 2010. Officer Law was assigned to the CHP’s Oakland Area Office before transferring to the Fresno Area Office in January 2013.

Officer Law is survived by his wife, Rebecca, and three children, Brandon, Lauren and Samantha. Officer Gonzalez is survived by his mother, Maria, and sister, Sandra.

In honor of Officers Law and Gonzalez, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.


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