California Highway Patrol Chief Ernie Sanchez, of the Golden Gate Division, sadly reports the death of Motor Officer Kirk Griess.
Officer Griess, 46, died as a result of injuries he sustained during a traffic stop. Griess had made an enforcement traffic stop of a grey Saturn SUV. Both the Saturn and Griess’ motor unit were parked on the right shoulder of the freeway.
For reasons that have yet to be determined, the driver of a white Chevrolet pickup truck veered off the normal traveled portion of the roadway and onto the shoulder of the freeway. The truck struck Griess and then the Saturn SUV.
Speed is suspected to be a factor in the cause of the crash as evidenced by the significant damage to both the CHP motor unit and the Saturn SUV. One report indicated the driver of the Chevrolet pickup truck complained of a medical issue that caused him to blackout.
“The impact was very significant,” Chief Sanchez said. “The Saturn was almost half the size of what it should be, and the scene was not very pretty.”
Both Griess and the civilian driver of the Saturn were transported to the North Bay Medical Center where they were pronounced dead.
The other victim was identified as 49-year-old Vallejo resident Jaime Bueza Manuel, CHP officials said.
“Our heart goes out to all the CHP staff, not only in the Solano office, but statewide,” Sanchez said. “This is what they do every day. They stop and help people on the shoulder. They enforce the law, making the freeways even safer for us to travel on.”
Please keep the family, friends, and coworkers of Officer Kirk Griess in your thoughts and prayers. https://t.co/kJT7uMo5n2
— CHP Headquarters (@CHP_HQ) August 11, 2018
“Officer Griess is going to be dearly missed,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “He was the ultimate public servant. He loved what he did.”
Sympathy from fellow law enforcement officials flooded social media as news of Griess’ death spread around California and beyond, reported SFGate.
The Pittsburg Police Department offered its “love, thoughts, prayers, and sincerest condolences.” The Richmond Police Department said CHP’s Solano office was “in our thoughts and prayers.” The West Sacramento Police Department said its “hearts are heavy” over the death.
Our hearts are heavy with the news of the line of duty death of CHP Officer Kirk Griess of the Solano CHP Office. Officer Griess was involved in a vehicle collision this morning. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fellow officers as we all process this difficult news. pic.twitter.com/r5ja25PWSA
— WestSacPolice (@WestSacPoliceDe) August 10, 2018
Griess is the 229th officer to be killed in the line of duty since the CHP was formed in 1929.
Kirk Griess served the California Highway Patrol for 19 years; the last 16 have been served in the Golden Gate Division at the Fairfield Office in Solano County as a motor officer. He was also a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, 25 and 21 and his 14-year-old son.
Officer Kirk Griess is gone, but will never be forgotten.
EOW: Friday, August 10, 2018.