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Law Enforcement Honors Fallen CHP Officer Griess

FAIRFIELD -- An unexpected and devastating end of watch for CHP Officer, Kirk Griess.

Riding the kind of motorcycle he used to serve and protect, members of the California Highway Patrol paid tribute to their fallen brother of 19 years - escorting his body from North Bay Medical Center to a funeral home in his hometown of Vacaville after an horrific morning crash on Interstate 80.

That crash lowered flags at the CHP Academy and fellow officers solemnly prepared to make Griess' name the 229th added to a concrete and stone salute for those on the force killed in the line of duty.

"This is a really tragic day for our department and a tragic day for the family of the fallen officer and  I mean I think each one of us deals with that loss differently whether we knew that officer or not... that's still one of brothers that lost his life today," said CHP officer Jamie Hardcastle.

Griess died along with the driver he had pulled over- 49-year-old Jaime Manuel of Vallejo when the two were hit around 9 a.m. in Fairfield.

Manuel's Saturn and Griess' motorcycle were left mangled as a white pick-up veered off the interstate near Manuel Campos Parkway.

"Officer Griess will be dearly missed.  He was the ultimate public servant," said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. "And even though this has happened today...right now you have CHP officers out there right now doing that.  They're committed to public service and they're committed to traffic safety. We will mourn and we will miss Officer Griess but we will continue to make the roadways safer."

Investigators say the driver of the white pick-up has told investigators he blacked out during some kind of medical situation.

"The doctors at North Bay who did everything they could to save two lives today but tragically there were other plans in store," said Ernie Sanchez, chief of the CHP's Golden Gate division.

While little has been released about Jaime Manuel, we know Griess was a dedicated family man, married, with two adult daughters and a 14-year-old son.

As it has for those who paid the ultimate price before him, a bell will toll for Officer Griess on Monday...in memory of all he gave to his family, colleagues and the people of California.