Police say the 22-year-old Hayward man driving the red Cadillac that struck the officers was drunk, and may have also been under the influence of marijuana. He could face felony charges when he's released from the hospital, they said.
"This is not the way we wanted to celebrate Christmas Day," Assistant Chief Ernest Sanchez told a gathering of reporters at the CHP's Hayward office.
Sanchez identified the officer who was killed as Andrew Camilleri, 33 years old, of Tracy. He had been with the Highway Patrol for a year and four months before the accident that ended his life.
"The impact was so severe that it turned a utility vehicle into a very small compact vehicle," Sanchez said.
Camilleri and his partner, Jonathan Velasquez, were on a "maximum enforcement patrol" -- parked on the shoulder of I-880, looking for drivers who appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Tragically, police say, that's exactly what they encountered.
The California Highway Patrol credit union has set up a fund to help the officer's family.
In an effort to help well wishers steer clear of fraudulent donation sites and the grieving family avoid excessive administrative fees, the CAHP Credit Union will be setting up a benevolence fund for Officer Camilleri’s family. https://t.co/9hixZzoIvX pic.twitter.com/w4dAlsjn1a— CHP Golden Gate (@CHP_GoldenGate) December 25, 2017
Both officers were belted into their seats when the patrol car was struck. Velasquez was in the driver's seat, and police say his seatbelt may have saved his life. He's been released from the hospital, but fellow officers say his deepest wounds are the kind you can't see.
"As you can imagine, he now will live with this tragedy of seeing his partner die," Sanchez said.
CHP Ofc. Andrew Camilleri was killed while on patrol last night on the 880. Investigators say a speeding car crashed into his SUV which was parked on the shoulder. His partner was treated and released. Is very “shaken up”.— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) December 25, 2017
Camilleri worked out of the CHP's Hayward office and lived in Tracy with the wife and three children he now leaves behind.
"Today we lost not only a hero, but a son a brother, husband, and a father," said Capt. Tim Pearson, the CHP commander for the Hayward area.
Officers said Camilleri had planned to come home and open presents with his kids on Christmas morning before his life was ended by a driver leaving a party on Christmas Eve.
"These irresponsible and senseless acts need to stop," Sanchez said.
Ofc. Camilleri's body remained at the Alameda County Coroner's Office on Christmas Day awaiting an autopsy, a sheriff's spokesperson said. Once the examination is complete, a police procession will escort the officer's body to a funeral home.
In honor of Camilleri, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.
MORE: Camilleri had been with CHP 1 yr and 4mo. His partner, Jonathan Velasquez, was hurt but has been released from the hospital.— Jessica Castro (@JessicaABC7) December 25, 2017
MORE: CHP claims 22 year old driver who crashed into CHP vehicle was under the influence of alcohol and drugs + to be charged with felony counts when released from hospital. @abc7newsbayarea— Jessica Castro (@JessicaABC7) December 25, 2017