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CHP officer dies after being struck by passing vehicle during crash investigation

A California Highway Patrol officer has died a day after he was struck by a driver while investigating a traffic collision on Interstate 80 in the Truckee area, officials said Monday.

Officer Nathan Taylor, who worked at the CHP office in Gold Run in Northern California, was outside his patrol vehicle Saturday afternoon and was helping divert traffic on the westbound 80 at Castle Peak Road during the collision, CHP Officer Dave Martinez said.

As traffic was moving to the right, a passing Nissan Pathfinder moved to the left and struck Taylor.

“She didn’t know what was going on and passed to the left and hit the officer in the center divider,” Martinez said.

Taylor, a nearly six-year CHP veteran, was taken to an area hospital and died late Sunday, CHP officials said. The 35-year-old officer was surrounded by his friends, family and fellow members of the Gold Run station, officials said.

“It is an incredibly sad day for Officer Taylor’s family, the CHP, and the State of California. The loss of an officer protecting our community is truly devastating,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said in a statement.

“We ask for the public’s continued prayers, support, and trust as we go through this incredibly difficult time," he added.

Condolences and prayers poured in from law enforcement agencies across the state following reports of his death.

“Rest in peace brother,” CHP Southern California headquarters tweeted Monday morning.

California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris also expressed her condolences.

"This tragedy is a grave reminder of the dangers our law enforcement officers face each day in service of their communities and our great state," she said in a statement.

The Nissan driver, Ivy Soon Young Villnow, 19, was not arrested. She did not show any signs of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“This likely will take time to see if any negligence was involved,” Martinez said.

KXTV-TV in Northern California interviewed Taylor last week after he helped a woman who lost control of her car in a snow bank.

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Video shows the officer carrying the elderly Roseville woman over the melting snow. She had trouble walking, Taylor told the news station.

"Oh, he is great," Patti Merlo said. "He is fantastic. He carried me because I hurt my ankle."

Taylor, of Rocklin, graduated from the CHP Academy in West Sacramento in October 2010 and was assigned to the San Jose Area office. He transferred to the Gold Run Area in January 2013.  

Taylor is survived by a wife, three sons, both parents, and two brothers, one of whom is a CHP officer assigned to the Clear Lake Area.

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2:30 p.m.: This story was updated with comments from California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris.

This story was originally published at 10:45 a.m.