Colleagues mourn 2 CHP officers killed in Kingsburg crash

Action News is learning more about two CHP officers killed on Monday morning in a traffic accident in Kingsburg.
February 18, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Action News is learning more about two California Highway Patrol officers killed on Monday morning in a traffic accident in Kingsburg.

Officers Juan Gonzalez and Brian Law died instantly. An autopsy showed Law died of trauma to the chest, and Gonzalez died from head trauma.

Gonzalez was driving when investigators say he likely tried to avoid a road hazard and overcorrected. The car ended up on its roof.

A small motorcade escorted the body of Officer Gonzalez away from the Fresno County morgue late Tuesday -- this as we are learning new details about the tragic way the soon-to-be fianc? of Officer Gonzalez learned about what happened. Top officials at the CHP tell Action News she passed the accident scene on her way to work, and at the time, did not know it was Gonzalez and his partner fatally injured.

At CHP headquarters, the shock is wearing off and the grief is beginning. Dozens of officers who were first responders on Monday met with professional counselors as part of a critical incident debrief. Officers said it was a tearful time talking about what they saw and how they feel.

"Some want to come back to work and work because that's what they know. Some others maybe they were a little closer to Officer Law and Gonzalez and might need a little more time for grieving. So everyone deals differently," said Axel Reyes with the CHP. "We got support from neighboring CHP offices. Officers are coming in and helping out and covering the area while our officers are attending the meetings and grieving through the process."

Flags are also at half-staff at Fresno State, where Gonzalez graduated in 2004 with a degree in criminology. CHP officials say it's likely the fallen officers will have a joint memorial service at the Save Mart Center. Officer Law recently moved back to Fresno from Vacaville. His neighbors in the Bay Area remember him well.

"Every time he was in the neighborhood he was always out and he was smiling, always trying to help everybody. His family and children they're always great neighbors to have," one neighbor said.

"To have something so senselessly, and she sent him off to work knew that when she'd kiss him goodbye he'd be coming home," another neighbor said. "It's not going to be the same. Our neighborhood lost a really good guy."

Although the officers were rather new to the Fresno area CHP office and worked the graveyard shift together, they got to know a lot of other officers.

The two played on a CHP softball team that even played in Las Vegas late last year. The fun moments off-duty are making this loss much more personal for all of them.

Officer Gonzalez was from Tulare. His body will be heading to the South Valley for the next few days. The body of Officer Law will remain in Fresno.

Tentatively, the funeral is set for next week, possibly Monday.


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