RAW: Suspected drunk driver kills California officer on Christmas Eve

Posted at 6:37 PM, Dec 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-25 18:37:45-05

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO/CNN) - A California Highway Patrol officer is dead after a highway crash involving a suspected drunk driver. 

Officials say officer Andrew Camilleri, 33, was killed in Hayward, near San Francisco, on Christmas Eve. The driver slammed into his cruiser that was parked on the side of an interstate highway.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) released details on Monday.

"This is definitely not the way we wanted the community to think of the 2017 Christmas holiday, but today is not a holiday for the Highway Patrol,” said Ernie Sanchez of the California Highway Patrol (CHP).  “Today is a tragic loss of one of our own, one of our own by the name of Andrew Camilleri, whom we will consider a hero now and forever. Today he's left behind three children, wife, brothers and sisters, children that were expecting his father to come home and help open Christmas presents.”

While on patrol, the officer and his patrol partner officer Jonathan Velasquez stopped on the right shoulder, and were hit by a person who chose to be irresponsible, Sanchez said. 

“This person, a 22-year-old from Hayward, chose to drive while under the influence of alcohol and also drugs and this needs to stop,” Sanchez said.  

The CHP said the two officers were parked on the right shoulder of Interstate 880 looking for drunk drivers, KGO said. Camilleri's partner was injured in the crash, but he is already out of the hospital.

The suspect, whose name has not been released yet, is still hospitalized. The state capitol will fly flags at half-staff to honor the fallen officer.

KGO added that Camilleri had been with the CHP for just more than a year.

Copyright 2017 KGO via CNN. All rights reserved.