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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 reported.
“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.”
Here is a photo of 33y/o Cameron Pryor. Pryor is the man who drove on the wrong side of Hwy 180 & killed @FresnoPolice Ofcr. Phia Vang last night. @FresnoSheriff says this mugshot is from Pryor’s DUI arrest from 9/9/18. He had been arrested by @ChpFresno. pic.twitter.com/9LOdlJLUJx
— Connie Tran (@MissConnieTran) February 6, 2019
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.
Suspect Cameron Pryor had a DUI conviction from 2011. It’s unclear what prompted the crash on Highway 180 near McCall Monday evening-but coroner officials are taking toxicology tests. Pryor was a local realtor. pic.twitter.com/24NeK9C9eI
— Sontaya Rose (@SontayaRose) February 5, 2019
“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.
Sending our deepest sympathies to @FresnoPolice after a beloved and dedicated member of the force was killed last night by a wrong-way driver on Hwy 180. Sheriff Boudreaux and all of us @TulareSheriff mourn alongside you. Rest In Peace Officer Phia Vang. pic.twitter.com/Z03lipMD1P
— TulareCounty Sheriff (@TulareSheriff) February 5, 2019
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.