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KINGSBURG (CBS SF) — Two California Highway Patrol officers died Monday morning in a chain-reaction crash on southbound Highway 99, at Bethel Avenue in Fresno County.
The officers have been identified as 34-year-old Brian Law of Clovis and 33-year-old Juan Gonzalez of Fresno. Both have ties to the Bay Area.
The officers were responding to a multi-vehicle accident around 6 a.m. They were traveling southbound, to respond to what was initially reported as a crash on the northbound lanes.
As they patrolmen responded, they discovered that the crash was actually in their lane of travel, and one of the victims was out on the highway.
The officer driving swerved to avoid hitting the person, but the patrol vehicle went out of control, slammed into the guardrail, and overturned, killing both men inside, according to CHP Capt. Dave Paris.
“This is a very sad day for us at the CHP as we say goodbye to two valued members of our family,” wrote the CHP on social media. “These were dedicated officers who gave their lives serving the people of California.”
The two officers both began their careers in the Bay Area, and were classmates at the CHP Academy in 2008.
Officer Gonzalez started in San Jose before transferring to Fresno.
Officer Law worked in Oakland before he transferred, and began working with his classmate.
The officers were working the graveyard shift, which is why they were travelling two to a car. It’s not known yet which officer was driving at the time of the crash.
Accident reconstruction teams will be examining the scene all day, and there is no estimated time of reopening the southbound lanes.