Two CHP officers killed in accident in Fresno County

The two CHP officers who died while responding to an accident near Fresno will be greatly missed by friends and former coworkers.
February 17, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Two California Highway Patrol officers died Monday morning after they crashed on Highway 99 in Fresno County. Officers Juan Gonzalez and Brian Law were responding to a call of a multi-vehicle accident in the Central Valley town of Kingsburg around 6 a.m.

Gonzalez and Law became friends after going through the CHP academy together. Both men began their careers in the Bay Area before transferring to Fresno.

Investigators have a lot more to learn about what caused the crash, but they do know a critical miscommunication played a key role. The officers initially were driving southbound to the accident that had been reported on the northbound portion of Highway 99, but the collision was actually on the southbound part of the highway. The CHP confirms was Gonzalez was at the wheel when their cruiser lost control at high speed and hit the guard rail.

Gov. Jerry Brown issued a statement on the deaths, saying in part, "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. We join all Californians in honoring these officers for their courage, commitment and service." Flags at the Capitol are being flown at half-staff.

Law graduated from the CHP academy in Sacramento in 2008. He began his CHP career in Oakland, where he worked for five years.

CHP Ofc. Sean Wilkenfeld was a rookie when he was assigned to the Oakland office. He says Law welcomed him with open arms and mentored him.

"He was just a fun guy, he was low key," Wilkenfeld said. "He loved to workout, into sports. He was just a standup guy."

Law transferred to Fresno about a year ago for personal reasons.

"He was a family man and he wanted to be close to his family," Wilkenfeld said. "So that was definitely part of the reason he left Oakland."

Wilkenfeld says Law loved working graveyard, the same shift he was on when he died.

Gonzalez began his career in San Jose after graduating the academy in 2008. He is being remembered as a smart, hard-working officer.

"I remember he always came to work with a smile on his face," former partner Ofc. Ross Lee said. "He was happy to be here, happy to do the job. Always taking care of his responsibilities, any calls that he handled. Never seemed to have any type of bad attitude about any aspect of the job."

Gonzalez took a transfer to Fresno, where his Spanish would be a major asset.

Gonzalez is survived by his mother, sister, and girlfriend. Law was married and had three small children.

ABC7 News reporters Laura Anthony, Vic Lee and David Louie contributed to this report.


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