Memorial service for fallen CHP officers set at Save Mart Center

The Fresno BeeFebruary 19, 2014 

California Highway Patrol Officers Juan Gonzalez (left) and Brian Law were killed Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, when their Crown Victoria slammed into a guardrail and a freeway exit sign on Highway 99 near Kingsburg.

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A memorial service has been set for two California Highway Patrol officers killed early Monday morning in an accident on Highway 99 near Kingsburg.

The service for officers Juan Jaime Gonzalez, 33, and Brian Mitchio Law, 34, will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 24, at the Save Mart Center in Fresno.

It has not yet been determined if the service will be open to the public or media, CHP spokesman Axel Reyes said Wednesday.

More details were released Wednesday regarding the multi-vehicle accident that preceded the fatal crash killing Gonzalez and Law.

Reyes outlined the tragic turn of events, which began shortly before 6 a.m. Monday with a white pickup truck crashing into a center divider of Highway 99.

After striking the divider, the white pickup rotated and faced north in the southbound lanes. Three vehicles then hit the white pickup -- another pickup truck, a cargo van and a mid-sized commercial box truck transporting milk. The milk truck came to a rest in the center divider, and the other two vehicles came to a stop on the right shoulder.

CHP Officer Gonzalez, who was driving the Crown Victoria patrol car with Law in the passenger seat, attempted to avoid the crashed vehicles and struck a guardrail and an exit sign just north of the Sierra Street/Conejo Avenue exit. Their car flipped on its roof and the officers died at the scene. Dispatchers received the call about the CHP crash at 6:07 a.m. No one else was injured, Reyes said.

The Fresno County Coroner’s Office said Gonzalez sustained head trauma and Law had chest trauma.

The accident remains under investigation. Investigators are also looking into what specifically caused the CHP officers to lose control.

Officer Michael Bright with the CHP's Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team based in Fresno said the team will likely be investigating the crash for several months before new details are released.

Investigators are still trying to locate all witnesses of the crash. Bright said anyone who saw the accident and hasn't already talked to investigators is asked to call the MAIT office at (559) 444-2538.

Reyes said CHP officers are being offered assistance to help cope with the death of their colleagues.

"It's pretty traumatic," Reyes said. "It is for the officers here."


The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6386, cgeorge@fresnobee.com or @CarmenGeorge on Twitter.

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