Driver in wrong-way crash that killed Fresno police officer had prior DUI conviction

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Driver in wrong-way crash had prior DUI conviction
Driver in wrong-way crash had prior DUI conviction

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A show of respect in the midst of a horrific crash that killed a veteran Fresno police officer.

The Fresno Police Department confirms the officer involved as a victim in the head-on crash off Highway 180 Monday afternoon was Officer Phia Vang.

And witnesses say the driver who caused the wreck was weaving across the road before he drove into oncoming traffic.

The erratic and unpredictable driving pattern turned heads Monday and caused a flood of calls into 911.

The man behind the wheel was 33-year-old Cameron Pryor, a local realtor.

California Highway Patrol Officers say after miles of swerving and nearly missing cars at the stoplight on Highway 180 and DeWolf, Pryor got into the oncoming lane.

Tuesday the heartbreaking loss was felt by fellow officers and closer to home by his immediate family. Police Chief Jerry Dyer comforted officers and Vang's widow and four children.

"They just lost someone that cannot be replaced. (His) wife was in tears holding a picture of Phia, and with tears falling down she was so broken," Dyer said.

RELATED: Veteran Fresno police officer killed after wrong-way crash on Hwy 180

The 26-year veteran was heading home from work, still dressed partially in his uniform when he was killed.

Once first responders discovered he was a Fresno police officer, they draped an American flag over his body.

Fresno Police Officers Association president, Todd Fraizer said Vang was one of the first Hmong officers and worked well with the community and others.

"He is considered a hero in the Hmong community and a role model and somebody they looked upon and respected, and he earned every bit of that," he said.

Dyer said Vang was a great officer and worked in beats to stop gang violence and patrol assignments in Southeast and Southwest Fresno.

"It's a loss for the family, it's a loss for the Fresno Police Department, and it's certainly a loss for this community. Phia Vang is somebody who's left his mark," Dyer said.

As for the Pryor, investigators have learned that he had previously been convicted for driving under the influence in 2011.

He was also involved in a crash back in September of last year -- when a motorcyclist died after slamming into the back of Pryor's truck.

CHP officers tell us he was also pulled over for a suspected DUI just a few days later but was never charged because his toxicology reports came back clean.

A close friend said he recently relapsed and refused to enter drug treatment last week.