CHP Officer Killed in Crash on I-80 in Fairfield

FAIRFIELD -- The California Highway Patrol confirmed the death of Officer Kirk Griess following a three-vehicle crash Friday along westbound Interstate 80 in Fairfield.

"Today is a tough day, it is a tough day, for the CHP, it’s a tough day for me, it’s a tough day for the State of California," CHP Golden Gate Chief Ernie Sanchez said.

Griess, 46, was a 19-year veteran of the CHP and worked for the Solano division for 16 years.

Investigators say the officer pulled over an SUV near Manuel Campos Parkway when a third vehicle -- a white pickup truck -- veered onto the shoulder "for unknown reasons" and hit the CHP motorcycle and the SUV.

Everyone involved was taken to the hospital. Officer Griess and the driver of the Saturn, 49-year-old Jaime Buenza Manuel, were pronounced dead at the hospital.

Griess is survived by his wife, his two adult daughters and his teenage son.

“So you can imagine the time he spent coaching, volunteering with the community with his daughters," Sanchez said. "And now the time he was spending with his son, a 14-year-old. He was at the prime of his career, making a difference. And today that’s what he was attempting to do.”

Investigators have not said what led to the crash, but a witness told FOX40 the driver of the truck had complained of a medical issue that caused him to black out.

A memorial fund has been established for Officer Griess:

Donations can be made on the CAHP Credit Union website (www.cahpcu.org) or mailed to:

Officer Kirk Griess Memorial Fund
CAHP Credit Union
P.O. Box 276507
Sacramento, Calif. 95827