Basketball standout, Bay Area native dies in Central Valley wreck

A Bay Area-native who just made his first appearance at the NCAA basketball tournament was killed in a crash that claimed two other lives and injured two highway patrol officers on Tuesday in San Joaquin County.

Oscar Frayer was traveling in a vehicle with two other people along Interstate 5 near Peltier Road around 2:30 am. when their vehicle rear-ended a CHP cruiser that was assisting a disabled tractor-trailer.

"Officers were responding to that broken-down big rig. They were stopped on the shoulder with their emergency lights on," said CHP Officer Ruben Jones. 

It’s unclear what caused the vehicle Frayer was traveling in to lose control. Authorities said the vehicle then hit the police car and trapped two officers in their cruiser. 

"That vehicle became engulfed in flames and sadly three occupants in that vehicle were pronounced deceased," said Jones, referring to the vehicle Frayer was inside.  

"At first I was in denial. At first, I didn’t believe it because I had just talked to him the night before," said Frank Knight, who was Frayer’s basketball coach at Moreau Catholic High School before graduating in 2016

Life suddenly cut short for a man described as a standout basketball player before graduating from Moreau Catholic in 2016.

Knight considered Frayer, whose father passed away when he was 8 years old, a son. Knight said the standout basketball player had a magnetic personality and always had a smile.

Knight said Frayer’s attitude and skills helped change the trajectory of Moreau High School's basketball team.

"He changed the culture at Moreau just him coming. Moreau wasn’t very good in basketball before he got there and he came and we won a lot of games," the coach recalled.

Frayer was poised to do that again at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix where he just completed his courses in communications.

"He was at the pinnacle of everything he was trying to do," Knight said. "He got the degree. He was playing against the biggest in college basketball and a couple of days later that spirit is gone."

The CHP officers who were trapped in their cruiser had to be extricated from the vehicle. They were then airlifted to a local hospital with what was described as "major injuries."

Investigators are still working to figure out what lead to the crash.