California officers killed in crash are remembered
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- Two California Highway Patrol officers killed while responding to a crash south of Fresno are being remembered Monday in a large ceremony expected to draw visitors from several states.
The memorial for officers Brian Law, 34, and Juan Gonzalez, 33, will be held at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, which seats about 15,000 people. The two officers will be buried in separate funeral services following the memorial.
Officer Axel Reyes of the CHP's Fresno office said he's not sure how many people will attend the memorial service, but many are expected.
"I couldn't begin to tell you," Reyes said. "This is a first for us. We're anticipating quite a bit."
Gov. Jerry Brown, state Attorney General Kamala Harris and CHP Commissioner Joseph A. Farrow are among the dignitaries who have said they will attend.
Law and Gonzalez died Feb. 17 while they were in the same patrol car heading south on state Route 99 toward a pre-dawn crash in Kingsburg.
The patrol car driven by Gonzalez veered off the road, apparently trying to avoid a pedestrian involved in the original collision. Both officers died at the scene, and the accident remains under investigation.
The officers, who were close, graduated from the CHP academy in 2008. They are the first officers from the Fresno CHP office who died together in line of duty and the first deaths since 1962, when Jerry E. Turre was struck and killed while laying flares at an accident scene.
So far, officers from 21 agencies -- some outside California -- have indicated they will attend Monday's memorial. Some will be on duty and others off, said Reyes, adding that the Save Mart Center was rented for the event with donations from the community.