SAN MARTIN (CBS SF) — An off-duty California Highway Patrol officer was killed in southern Santa Clara County early Tuesday in a collision with a truck while on his way to work.

Authorities said the officer was on a motorcycle on the way to work when was involved in a crash with a truck at 5:51 a.m. on the Monterey Highway just south of Chester Street near San Martin.

The initially unidentified 44-year-old officer assigned out of the Gilroy CHP office was declared dead at the scene and his body was covered with an American flag. CHP officials did not immediately release the name of the officer while his family was being told.

Santa Clara County Coroner later confirmed that the off-duty CHP officer killed was 44-year-old Morgan Hill resident James Branik.

The crash happened when a 2013 Chevrolet pickup in a left turn lane on northbound Monterey Road turned in front of the officer traveling south, according to the CHP.

Officials are not sure yet why the driver of the pickup turned in front of the officer, but they have ruled out drugs and alcohol for now.

“He was just a good person … This is devastating,” said CHP Officer Marcos Lerma, who came to view the accident scene. “He was a good officer. Someone you wanted by your side.”

Anyone with information about the collision was asked to call Officer Sean Nichols at (408) 848-2324.

© Copyright 2017 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  1. What is it about people turning left in front of motorcycles? They wouldn’t do that with a semi but a motorcycle is ok?