Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

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

June 29, 2010 | 11:13 am

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