CHP officer killed en route to work in South Bay identified

- The California Highway Patrol says the officer who was killed in Santa Clara County while riding his personal motorcycle to work Tuesday morning is 44-year-old James Branik of San Jose. 

Shortly before 6 a.m., Branik was riding his Suzuki motorcycle southbound on Monterey Road. At the same time, 47-year-old Joseph Ketchum was driving his Chevrolet pick-up truck northbound on Monterey.

He made a left turn near Chester Avenue, directly in front of Branik, authorities said.

The resulting collision caught the attention of an attendant at a nearby gas station.

"It (sounded like) boom.. a big noise. I thought something (went) wrong with (the) pump," said Subhash Satth.

Despite efforts by first responders, Branik, a married family man, was killed in the crash. 

He was remembered fondly Tuesday. 

"James was an amazing person and officer," said Marcos Loma, a friend of the officer.

Ketchum is cooperating with the investigation, officials said.

Investigators say there were no drugs or alcohol found in the pick-up truck, and that they don't appear to be factors in the crash. The county coroner will determine the cause of death.

Meanwhile, flags fly at half-staff as members of the CHP and law enforcement officers far and wide mourn the loss of Branik. 

 
  

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