Memorial for fallen Fresno CHP officers expected to draw thousands, including Gov. Brown

The Fresno BeeFebruary 21, 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.

SPECIAL TO THE FRESNO BEE

Gov. Jerry Brown will be among thousands expected to attend a memorial service Monday in Fresno for two fallen California Highway Patrol officers.

The joint service for Juan Jaime Gonzalez and Brian Mitchio Law will be held at 10 a.m. at the Save Mart Center, 2650 E. Shaw Ave.

The officers were killed Monday when their patrol car crashed on Highway 99 near Kingsburg. They were on their way to a traffic accident, and Officer Gonzalez swerved to avoid vehicles at the crash scene.

Family of the officers are requesting privacy but are welcoming friends and family of the law enforcement community to attend the service, CHP spokesman Axel Reyes said Friday.

As of Friday, representatives from 21 law enforcement agencies -- including 11 from out of state -- confirmed they will attend, with many more expected, Reyes said.

After the memorial, which is expected to conclude around 11:30 a.m., uniformed law enforcement personnel plan to stand at attention in a line stretching from the entrance to the Save Mart Center and along Matoian Way to Woodrow Avenue as the funeral procession passes. The bodies of the officers will be taken to cemeteries in Clovis and Tulare.

The service will draw a number of officials, including Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. Memorial speakers are still being finalized, but CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow will be among them, Reyes said.

Those planning to attend the memorial are encouraged to arrive early to park, which will be free. People should be able to enter the Save Mart Center about 8:30 a.m., Reyes said. All vehicles will enter on northbound Chestnut Avenue from Shaw Avenue.

Law enforcement interested in attending can RSVP with Reyes at (559) 978-2566.

Road closures/delays

There will be a number of road closures and delays in the area Monday due to a high volume of traffic expected for the memorial and burial services.

Around Fresno State, several roads will be closed to through traffic beginning at 6 a.m. -- Chestnut Avenue between Barstow and Shaw avenues and Woodrow Avenue north of Shaw Avenue. Matoian Way from Woodrow to Chestnut avenues will be open only to memorial attendees.

Sgt. Dave Gibeault, supervisor of the Fresno Police Department's Traffic Bureau, said motorists may encounter traffic delays as early as 7:30 a.m. Monday on Palm and Shaw avenues. Most delays on Shaw will likely occur between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., and from noon to 12:30 p.m., he said.

As the funeral procession makes it way from the Save Mart Center to the Clovis Cemetery on North Villa Avenue where Officer Law will be buried, rolling street closures are expected within a 20-minute window, Gibeault said. From the Clovis Cemetery, the procession will make its way to the North Tulare Public Cemetery, where Officer Gonzalez will be buried.

En route to Tulare, various on and off ramps will be closed intermittently along highways 168, 180, 41 and 99 in Fresno and Tulare counties between about 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Caltrans officials said.

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

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