VACAVILLE (CBS SF) — California Highway Patrol motorcycle Officer Kirk Griess, a 19-year veteran, was remembered during a memorial service today as a devoted family man, a “cop’s cop” and a “beach blond porcupine” for his perfect hair with silver tips that earned him the nickname “Hollywood.”
Greiss, 46, and Jaime Manuel, 49, of Vallejo, died a week ago when they were struck by a Chevrolet pickup truck on the right shoulder of eastbound Interstate Highway 80. Griess had pulled over Manuel’s Saturn SUV around 9 a.m. A Rocklin man has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving.
The arraignment of the suspect, 36-year-old Sean Matthew Walker, was postponed in Solano County Superior Court until Sept. 12 after he posted $90,000 bail Thursday morning.
The tributes teased Griess’ Hollywood persona and praised his love of his family and the CHP brotherhood.
“He had perfect hair. I was jealous a lot,” CHP Solano area Commander Mark Headrick told the mourners at The Father’s House Church in Vacaville. Griess was positive and encouraging to others, Headrick said.
“He said if we want more hope, let’s give more hope to others. He was a peacemaker,” Headrick said. “All of us have felt the sunshine he brought to us.”
Golden Gate Division Chief Ernie Sanchez said the response of the community to Griess’ death was invigorating. Griess’ parents, Sheldon and Helen Griess, asked him to issue a strong message about the dangers of distracted driving, Sanchez said.
Griess’ daughters remembered their father as humble and fearless.
“He was one of the greatest men to walk on this earth,” Kadi Griess said. She recalled his love “of all things Disney,” and on one trip to Disneyland, he waved at the people who were sitting on the curb as if he were in a parade.
“He rocked that Back Street Boy look,” daughter Kaci said. “His love was selfless, reliable and unconditional. He taught us respect is earned, not given. I feel his spirit standing beside me,” she said.
The assembly was amused but likely not surprised when several dozen storm troopers from the Star Wars movies joined the members of the CHP’s motorcycle unit on the stage of the church.
CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley complimented the CHP Solano unit for demonstrating “a tremendous amount of strength” over the past week.
Stanley recalled seeing a news report the day of Griess’ death. In it Griess agreed to drive an unlicensed man’s motorcycle home for him.
Stanley said he was sad to present Griess’ wife Keri with her husband’s CHP badge. The 90-minute service concluded with a final radio call to badge No. 15810.
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