Off-Duty Officer Killed, Cal Trans Flagger Seriously Hurt in Chain Reaction Crash

STANISLAUS COUNTY-

An off-duty Oakdale Police officer was killed Thursday morning in a chain reaction crash along Highway 132.

Cal Trans said the accident was likely caused by a distracted driver. A Cal Trans flagger was seriously injured in the crash, as well.

“There was a chain reaction accident right behind him. Apparently, one driver was not paying attention to construction signs warning work ahead and crashed into another vehicle, which crashed into our flagger,” Cal Trans’ Mark Dinger told FOX40.

The flagger, Brian Smith, is said to be in serious condition.

Officer Paul Katuszonek was hit from behind by a semi-truck, Oakdale Police said. He was heading home from work.

Oakdale Police say Katuszonek had just recently returned to duty after winning a year-long battle with cancer. He leaves behind a wife and a baby daughter.

Kimberly Rankin, Rowena Shaddox and Ian McDonald contributed to this report.