CHP officers killed in crash were close friends, officials say

California Highway Patrol Officers Juan Gonzalez and Brian Law grinded through the academy together and became good friends after 27 weeks in the same class. After they graduated in 2008, they were assigned to different offices, but by 2013, the young officers were reunited in the CHP's Fresno office, where they worked the graveyard shift side by side.

They spent time together off-duty, and talked to their families about one another, officials said Monday. Gonzalez, 33, had discussed marriage with his girlfriend. Law, 34, had a wife, Rebecca, and three young children. 

“They were best of friends,” CHP Capt. Dave Paris said.

Early Monday morning, the two officers were in a Crown Victoria together, responding to radio calls about a collision when the car careened into a guardrail on the 99 Freeway south of Fresno. Both officers died instantaneously, CHP officials said.

“We responded, and discovered the tragedy at hand,” CHP Capt. Dave Paris said at a news conference Monday. “California Highway Patrol members, uniform, and non-uniform alike, are suffering a very severe loss today.”

Although the investigation into what caused the crash remained ongoing, new details began to emerge Monday afternoon that painted a complicated sequence of events.

Around 6 a.m. Monday, Gonzalez and Law received the radio calls indicating that a collision had occurred on the northbound 99 Freeway. But as they approached the scene, traveling south from Fresno, they discovered the collision was actually on their side of the freeway, blocking lanes, with a pedestrian outside of a vehicle, Paris said.

“The officers took evasive action to avoid striking any of the parties from the previous collision, lost control of the vehicle, struck the guard rail, and severely crashed,” he said. “No other cars were struck by the highway patrol vehicle.”

Following news of the collision, an array of law enforcement agencies and elected officials offered their support.

In honor of Law and Gonzalez, Gov. Jerry Brown said flags at the State Capitol would be flown at half staff.

“Anne and I extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of Officers Law and Gonzalez as they mourn the tragic loss of these dedicated public servants,” he said in a statement. “We join all Californians in honoring these officers for their courage, commitment and service.”