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Sheriff’s office: San Joaquin County correctional sergeant killed in overnight crash

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SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) -- A San Joaquin County correctional sergeant was killed overnight in a crash, according to San Joaquin County authorities.

Around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, 32-year-old Sergeant Cesar Fuentes was on his way home from the San Joaquin County Jail when he was involved in a collision with a pickup truck.

According to the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office, Fuentes was riding his motorcycle eastbound on Mathews Road when he approached a pickup that was stopped on the south shoulder. The pickup driver suddenly pulled out in front of Fuentes to make an illegal U-turn, resulting in the collision.

The pickup driver was not injured in the crash. He has been identified by the CHP as 60-year-old Roger DeLaCruz.

After the impact, Fuentes was able to get to his feet but was taken to San Joaquin General Hospital less than a mile away where he later died, according to officials.

As word of his death spread among law enforcement agencies that book people into the county jail, an impromptu procession of nearly 50 squad cars assembled shortly after midnight to escort Fuentes' body back to the sheriff facility that houses the coroner and mortuary facilities.

San Joaquin Sheriff Pat Withrow told FOX40 his department has been a flurry of activity since receiving the news. The sheriff and correctional staff were told in person what happened Monday morning.

“It is a sad day for us, it’s been a difficult day,” said Withrow. “It was a great loss to our staff and our family here as well as his family and loved ones as well as his brothers in the Marines.”

Sergeant Fuentes served in the military for 12 years and served three tours of duty with the United States Marine Corps from 2006 to 2018 during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Withrow said Fuentes won awards at the Sheriff’s Academy and was one of the sheriff’s first promotions last year.

Prior to his death, Fuentes was recently promoted to the rank of correctional sergeant.

“I had the honor of meeting him and get to know him,” said Withrow. “So, he’d only been with us five years and he became a sergeant. He was so well-loved, so well respected. He was the future of our department.”

The driver of the pick-up truck has not been cited or arrested. Withrow said the 60-year-old driver had pulled over and made the U-turn because he had forgotten his wallet.

Withrow said it was obvious there was no intent to cause harm and that a U-turn at that spot in the road is not normally illegal.

"To make it legal you've got to make sure it's clear and nobody else is coming and you can't pull right in front of somebody,' said Withrow.

Withrow said the CHP investigation and the District Attorney's Office will determine if any legal action is warranted.

The San Joaquin Sheriff's Office employs about 250 deputies and about 350 correctional officers who operate at jail facilities and the county hospital.

This story is developing. 

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