'Just tears started rolling out:' Son of officer killed in wrong-way crash remembers his dad

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- They came by motorcycle, by helicopter, frozen in salute.

Cruisers carefully escorted a man who dedicated his life to service.

Corey Vang says his father, Officer Phia Vang, loved his career.

"He wanted to be a police officer just because wearing that suit and being a role model to the community. just knowing that he could make a difference," he said.

Officer Vang was still partially in uniform when a wrong-way driver killed him on Highway 180.

The suspect hit five other cars on Highway 180 before slamming head-on into Vang Monday afternoon.

"I didn't know Sunday was the last Superbowl I would get to watch with him. And Monday I didn't get a chance to see him until I got the news that he was already gone," Corey Vang said.

Officer Vang worked for the Fresno Police Department for 26 years.

He was one of the first Hmong officers in the area and patrolled Southeast and Southwest Fresno for years cracking down on gang violence.

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

Corey says his dad was a hard worker and started every day, the same way. But now, the comforting sounds of his father's familiar routine is silent.

"I can hear him rustling in the restroom, walking to the hallway, getting his coffee, getting ready for the day. And I wake up, and I didn't hear any of that. I heard people talking crying, and that's when it hit me hard," he said.

Corey says his dad was his best friend, a mentor, a brother.

"I know a lot of kids, it's hard for them to say I love you or give your mom and dad a hug, but you don't know when that split second hits and they are instantly gone and you don't get a chance, he said.

The loss has taught him to treasure his family.

Now, he's encouraging others to do the same.
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