CHP officers killed in crash on 99 Freeway are identified

The two California Highway Patrol officers who died when their car careened into a guardrail Monday on the 99 Freeway south of Fresno were in their 30s and just six years out of the academy, the agency announced.

Officers Juan Gonzalez, 33, and Brian Law, 34, were identified by the CHP in a post to the agency's Facebook page

"This is a very sad day for us at the CHP as we say goodbye to two valued members of our family," the agency said, adding that the officers, who were working as partners, would join a "distinguished group of heroes" who will "forever be remembered for their valiant sacrifice and service."

The investigation into what caused the crash remained ongoing, although more details began to emerge.

A CHP official said officers careened into a guardrail after they suddenly came upon a crash that they thought would be on the opposite side of the 99 Freeway, officials said.

About 6 a.m., the CHP received a call about a wreck that was possibly blocking lanes on the northbound 99 Freeway.

But while en route, the men "came on scene and discovered the collision was actually southbound blocking the lanes and a pedestrian, one of the involved parties, was out of the vehicle," CHP Capt. Dave Paris said at a news conference.

The CHP car then "lost control, collided into the guard rail," Paris added.

CHP Officer Axel Reyes, though, said it was unclear if the driver swerved to miss the pedestrian.

The roads were not slick from any rain and there was no fog at the time of the crash, Reyes said.

Earlier Monday morning, Reyes said he believed that at least two or three vehicles were involved in the first collision that the CHP unit was responding to. 

An accident reconstruction team was at the scene and all lanes on the southbound 99 Freeway were closed at East Mountain View Avenue. Traffic was being diverted off the freeway and rerouted to reconnect with the freeway south of Kingsburg.

Reyes said crews were trying to open at least one lane, but that the rest of the closure would likely last several more hours.

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