Driver, CHP officer killed in line of duty after being struck on I-80 in Fairfield

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A California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer and a motorist died Friday morning after they were both struck while on the shoulder of Interstate 80 in Fairfield, officials said.

The CHP identified the officer as Kirk Griess of the agency's Solano office. 

Griess was conducting a traffic stop behind a Saturn SUV on the right shoulder of westbound I-80 at 9 a.m. near Manuel Campos Parkway. For some reason, a white Chevrolet pickup truck veered toward him and the Saturn and struck both motorists. Griess and the driver of the Saturn were transported to the hospital where they were pronounced dead, the CHP said.

Griess was a 19-year veteran of the highway patrol and he spent the last 16 years with the Golden Gate Division. "He was at the prime of his career, making a difference," said Ernie Sanchez, Chief of the Golden Gate Division. 

The truck's speed at the time of the collision is not known, though Sanchez illustrated an alarming image. "The impact was very significant," he said. "The Saturn is about half the size it should be. It wasn't pretty."

A former Marine with a presence in the community, Griess was remembered for his love for his three children, including two adult daughters, ages 21 and 25, and a 14-year-old son. Griess is also survived by his wife. 

"He was the ultimate public servant," said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. "He loved being a CHP officer. He loved being a CHP motorcycle officer. He's going to be dearly missed."

The driver of the pickup truck is at a local hospital. Officers say he is being interviewed and he is cooperating. 

If anyone witnessed this traffic collision they are asked to contact the CHP - Golden Gate Division Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) tip-line at 707-917-4357.

KTVU's Lisa Fernandez and Ryan Moran contributed to this report.