VACAVILLE, Calif. (KTVU) - Those who loved a California Highway Patrol officer killed in the line of duty last week in Fairfield mourned on Friday at a funeral where people remembered motorcycle officer Kirk Griess for living, and dying, with honor.
He was remembered as a "cop's cop" and the "best of the best." One of his daughters called him the "greatest man on Earth." There were many tears for him at his funeral, held at The Father's House Church, in Vacaville.
Colleague CHP Officer Will Lee described Griess as a wonderful hands-on father, a devoted husband, a Marine and someone who everyone called Hollywood, although it was Disneyland that he truly loved. "Kirk was an incredible man," he said. "Kirk had a heart for service and it showed in the community who showed up for him."
"He was a great motor cop. He was known as the best of the best. He was known as a cop's cop," said police chaplain Lee Shaw.
"Kirk's parents, Sheldon and Helen, asked me to send a strong message to the community about the dangers of distracted driving. I promise you it is coming," said CHP Chief of the Golden Gate Division Ernie Sanchez.
His nickname was 'Hollywood.' In honor of Griess' favorite movie "Star Wars," Storm Trooper look-a-likes made an appearance at the funeral.
Griess was killed Aug. 10 about 10 a.m. on Interstate Highway 80 when a driver, identified as Sean Matthew Walker, struck him. The CHP said Walker, 38, of Rocklin was on his phone and distracted at the time of the crash.
Walker was arrested and charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter. Efforts to reach him or his attorney were not immediately successful.
Griess had been conducting a traffic stop behind a Saturn SUV near Manuel Campos Parkway when a white Chevrolet pickup veered toward him, the CHP said. The driver of the Saturn also died.
Griess worked in the Solano office and spent the last 16 years with the Golden Gate Division. "He was at the prime of his career, making a difference," Chief Sanchez said at a news conference last week.
Griess is survived by his wife of 26 years and his three children. His oldest daughter is training to become a CHP officer herself.
"I'm so proud to be his daughter. I love you dad. Semper fi. And don't worry I will help your partners from here," said daughter Kadi Griess.