KINGSBURG — The California Highway Patrol was mourning the loss of two officers Monday after their squad car flipped over while responding to a multi-vehicle crash.
Officers Brian Law, 34, of Clovis, and Juan Gonzalez, 33, of Fresno, were heading to the crash on state Route 99 near the Central Valley town of Kingsburg when they swerved to avoid a person in the road and lost control of the vehicle, the CHP said.
California Gov. Jerry Brown and first lady Anne Gust Brown sent their regards Monday to the fallen officers and their loved ones. Flags will be flown at half-staff at the State Capitol in Sacramento.
"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," Brown said in a written statement. "We join all Californians in honoring these officers for their courage, commitment and service."
Law and Gonzalez were traveling southbound to get to the crash, CHP Capt. Dave Paris said.
The original pre-dawn collision about 25 miles southeast of Fresno was initially reported on the northbound side of the divided highway, Paris said. The officers soon realized, however, that the crash scene was actually in the southbound lanes, and one the drivers involved was on the road, Paris said.
Gonzalez, who was driving, swerved out of the way, and the squad car hit a guardrail and struck the pylon of a freeway exit sign, said Officer Axel Reyes, a CHP spokesman.
The original crash apparently occurred when a pickup truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into the center divider, the CHP said. It came to rest in the wrong direction with its lights off, setting off a chain-reaction collision.