FRESNO -- Thousands of people are expected at a Fresno memorial service Monday morning for two California Highway Patrol officers who died while responding to a crash.
Officers Brian Law and Juan Gonzalez, partners and close friends, were killed in a patrol car crash as they rushed to a multi-vehicle accident on Highway 99 in Kingsburg on Feb. 17.
Gonzalez, 33, and Law, 34, were responding to radio calls about a collision when their car careened into a guardrail, killing them instantly.
CHP Capt. Dave Paris said the officers had received calls around 6 a.m. indicating that a crash was on the northbound 99 Freeway. Traveling south from Fresno, the officers approached and discovered the crash was on their side of the freeway instead, blocking lanes and with a pedestrian outside one of the vehicles.
“The officers took evasive action to avoid striking any of the parties from the previous collision, lost control of the vehicle, struck the guardrail and severely crashed,” Paris said. “No other cars were struck by the Highway Patrol vehicle.”
Both men were wearing seat belts.
"We join all Californians in honoring these officers for their courage, commitment and service," Brown said in a statement issued after their death.
Gov. Jerry Brown and Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris were expected to attend the shared ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. at the Save Mart Center at Fresno State.
Traffic closures started early Monday morning and Fresno State students were asked to walk or use public transportation to campus.
After the service, a motorcade of at least 100 vehicles will escort Law's body to Clovis, then to Tulare where Gonzalez will be buried.
The CHP has also set up funds for each officer's family. Donations can be made by calling 1-800-542-2247 or mailed to: CAHP Credit Union, 2843 Manlove Road, P.O. Box 276507, Sacramento, CA 95827-6507.