Procession held for Calif. officer killed in Christmas Eve crash

Rookie Officer Andrew Camilleri Sr., 33, was killed when a suspected drunken driver slammed into the back of his patrol car

By Angela Ruggiero
East Bay Times

OAKLAND, Calif. — Dozens of law enforcement vehicles drove the more than hourlong route on Interstate 580 Tuesday afternoon in a procession to bring the body of a fallen CHP officer from Oakland to Tracy.

Rookie CHP officer Andrew Camilleri Sr., 33, of Tracy, was killed Christmas Eve when a suspected drunken driver drifted off Interstate 880 in Hayward and slammed into the back of his patrol car just before midnight.

Camilleri, a father of three, was killed, while his partner, Jonathan Velasquez, was injured.

The procession began at 3:50 p.m. from the Alameda County Coroner’s Office at Peralta Oaks Court with a convoy of police vehicles and motorcycles following. It ended just after 5 p.m. at Fry Memorial Chapel, 550 Central Ave., in Tracy.

Several officers stood by, saluting, as the flag-draped casket was brought out of the hearse and into the chapel.

More than two dozen police vehicles, with their lights and sirens on, followed the hearse that contained the body of Camilleri for the roughly 45-mile journey along I-580.

Officers at times stopped traffic or slowed down other cars on the interstate to allow the procession to go through. Several fire departments, including Alameda County and the Livermore-Pleasanton fire departments, stood on top of their fire engines at overpasses along the procession. Alameda County fire could be seen at 150th Avenue and 160th Avenue in San Leandro, while Livermore-Pleasanton fire could be seen just before Hacienda Drive, saluting as the convoy went by.

Several other police vehicles stopped along with them, some seen waving American flags.

Dozens of CHP officers and Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies lined up to salute the flag-draped casket before it left Oakland.

Other police agencies throughout the Bay Area participated as the officer’s body was transported to Tracy.

Camilleri graduated from the CHP Academy in March and was working his first Christmas Eve shift.

The officers’ SUV was parked on the shoulder of I-880 near Highway 92 late Sunday night as they patrolled for dangerous drivers. Camilleri was in the front passenger seat, and Velasquez was behind the wheel. The Cadillac, driven by a 22-year-old, was driving so fast that the impact crushed the SUV into “a very small compact vehicle,” said CHP Assistant Chief Ernest Sanchez.

The crash shut down all southbound lanes on I-880 until 9:40 a.m. Monday.

Officers believe the driver of the Cadillac, who remains in a hospital with serious injuries, was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol when he got behind the wheel and headed south on I-880.

Camilleri is the second CHP officer to die in the line of duty this year, according to the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, a union that represents CHP officers.

©2017 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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