A Fresno Police Officer and the first Hmong-American police officer in California’s Central Valley has been killed by a wrong way driver.
The victim, 26-year veteran Phia Vang who was off-duty at the time, was on the Highway 180 when the tragic head-on collision occurred on Monday afternoon, according to ABC30
. Prior to the fatal collision, many drivers called 911 to report the erratic driving pattern of the wrong way driver, Cameron Pryor. Both drivers died in the collision.
“We are mourning the loss of Police Officer Phia Vang, who passed away Monday afternoon while involved in an off-duty car accident. Officer Vang was a well-loved and respected member of the Fresno Police Department, a 26-year veteran who was most recently assigned to the Fresno Area Express (FAX) Unit, and he will certainly be missed,”
Mayor Lee Brand said in a statement, The Fresno Bee
“My thoughts and prayers are with the Vang family during this most difficult time and my condolences go out to his fellow officers. We’re fortunate to live in a community that understands and appreciates the important role that law enforcement plays in our everyday lives. We’re a better city because of the brave and caring men and women of the Fresno Police Department.”
Pryor reportedly had DUI (Driving Under Influence) conviction in the past. The 33-year-old realtor has a DUI conviction from 2011 and was also arrested last September for DUI.
“Phia also worked part of our M.A.G.E.C unit, multi-agency gang enforcement consortium, as well and was a gang expert in his own right and he helped keep our streets safe for many years,” Deputy Chief Pat Farmer of the Fresno Police said.
The 48-year-old officer is survived by a wife and four children – three sons and a daughter.
“Is this real? I felt like I was in a dream and I just wanted to wake up,”
Corey Vang, the officer’s eldest son, told Your Central Valley
. “At first I didn’t believe it because it’s just one of those things you don’t take easily; you don’t swallow that at first.”
Authorities will conduct an autopsy on Pryor to determine if drugs or alcohol were involved in the tragic crash.
A friend of Pryor reportedly said that he recently had a relapse and refused to undergo drug treatment last week.