Family Demands Answers After Bakersfield Man Stops Breathing While in CHP Custody

The family of a man who stopped breathing while in California Highway Patrol custody on Friday is speaking out.

Dolores Herrera is the mother-in-law of 40-year-old Bakersfield resident Jason Gonzalez. She says he’s the man that was detained by CHP after walking through traffic on Highway 58 Friday morning. Police haven’t confirmed the man is Gonzalez, but they say the man they detained put up a fight with officers.

“He’s a family man. He’s a productive person in society. He has a lot of family. As you can see behind me, he has a lot of family here. We just want to get to the bottom of it and figure out what happened,” Herrera said.

The Bakersfield Police Department says Gonzalez became combative and resistant with officers when they approached him Friday morning. He was eventually detained.

“A short time after he was taken into custody he stopped breathing. They immediately called for medical aid to come out and treat him. He was transported to the hospital where he is now listed in critical condition,” said Sgt. Nathan McCauley, a spokesman for BPD.

Gonzalez’s family says they do not know why he was walking on the freeway, but they say they know one thing, that he wasn’t typically the type to fight.

“He’s not violent, we just don’t understand any of this. We want to know, if anyone is out there with any kind of information, a video, a witness, to please contact us and let us know what’s going on because we’re in the dark about all this,” Herrera said.

Although CHP was the agency involved in the altercation with Gonzalez, BPD is heading the investigation. BPD says it is unknown if Gonzalez stopped breathing as a result of the altercation, or a previous injury or medical condition. Herrera says she’s not optimistic about Gonzalez’s condition.

“I feel like I’m in a nightmare, it doesnt feel real. Doesn’t feel real at all. I don’t even know, I can’t explain it in words. It’s horrible. It’s a horrible feeling, knowing your loved one is in the hospital dying,” Herrera said.

Anyone with information regarding the case is encouraged to contact Detective Keegan Gavin at (661) 326-3557 or the Bakersfield Police Department at (661) 327-7111.

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