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Las Vegas man charged in CHP officer's roadside death near Barstow

CHP Officer Justin McGroryA Las Vegas man was charged Tuesday with vehicular manslaughter in connection with the death of a California Highway Patrol officer on Interstate 15 near Barstow.

Rafael Garcia, 18, was behind the wheel of a Pontiac G6 that clipped the back of a CHP patrol car about 3:40 a.m. Sunday, striking and killing officer Justin McGrory, 28, while he stood on the shoulder for a traffic stop, officials said.

In addition to vehicular manslaughter, Garcia was charged with child endangerment and transportation of marijuana, according to San Bernardino County prosecutors.

McGrory is among five CHP officers killed on duty in the last two months, a trend that has raised questions about officers' safety as they stop cars on the side of fast-moving roadways.

Four of the officers died in accidents on the side of a road, highway or freeway, and CHP pilot Danny Benavides, 39, died in a plane crash in May in the Imperial Valley while on observation patrol.

Garcia is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon by video. He faces up to eight years and four months in state prison if convicted on all counts.

-- Tony Barboza

Photo: CHP

Comments () | Archives (5)

I have never understood why CHP doesn't follow you to the next SAFE place to pull over, even if that means the next off-ramp, before getting out of their car. It just makes sense.

Another illegal alien protected by Mahony and Tony V. And McCain and Palin.

eight years and four months is too little for criminals. Signs should be posted on the freeways for motorists to slow down if officers wit cars or motor cycles are seen stopped on the sides of the freeways. Also it would be wise for officers to direct cars stopped for violation to exit the freeways and stop at a gas station or a fast food restaurant parking lots.

Note that the 18 year old driver who killed the CHP officer was also charged with "transportation of marijuana." Add him to the list of numerous pot dealers and pot users who have killed people by causing car accidents. So to those marijuana apologists who say that pot never killed anyone: You could not be more wrong. This is just the latest tragic example.

My heart goes out to Officer McGrory's family and friends. Such a tragic.


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