A California Highway Patrol officer was killed and a second injured late Sunday night when a suspected DUI driver slammed into their patrol SUV as it was parked on the side of Highway 880 near Hayward, authorities said on Christmas.
Officers responded shortly before midnight to reports of a collision in the southbound lanes of Interstate-880 just north of Highway 92 involving a red car and a CHP vehicle, Bay Area television station KPIX reported.
Authorities believe an intoxicated 22-year-old – suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and marijuana – was headed home from a party when he drifted into the right shoulder and hit the officers' parked vehicle from behind, according to CHP Assistant Chief Ernest Sanchez.
Two officers on a routine CHP patrol on Christmas Eve were inside the vehicle at the time, he said. Both had seat belts on.
Investigators believe the man's car was traveling at a high rate of speed when he crashed into the SUV, causing significant damage and leaving the CHP vehicle a crumpled pile of metal.
"The impact was so severe that it turned a utility vehicle into a compact vehicle," Sanchez said at a Christmas morning news conference. "So it kind of gives you an idea of the speeds that were involved in this accident."
All three suffered injuries and were rushed by ambulances to local hospitals.
CHP confirmed Monday morning that one of the officers had died of his injuries.
Authorities identified him as 33-year-old Officer Andrew Camilleri Sr.
Camilleri is survived by his wife, three children – a daughter and two sons, all between the ages of 2 and 12 years old – his parents, and two siblings.
His children "were expecting (their) father to come home and help open Christmas presents. But instead, he chose to work today," Sanchez said. He described the slain officer as a "hero now and forever."
Flags at the Capitol will be flown at half-staff in the fallen officer's honor, according to a statement from Gov. Jerry Brown.
“Anne and I are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic loss of Officer Camilleri, who died yesterday while working to keep our communities safe. We join his family, friends and the entire California Highway Patrol in mourning his death and in honoring his sacrifice," the statement read.
The second officer suffered minor injuries. He was treated at a hospital and has since been released.
The 22-year-old driver, identified only as a Hayward resident, was hospitalized with major injuries and is expected to face felony charges, officials said.