Hanna Chellew stood under the bright lights of Roseville’s Adventure Christian Church on Saturday morning, fondly remembering the childhood she and her brother, Lucas Chellew, shared.
Sporting a tight, neat bun and her formal forest green California Highway Patrol uniform, she talked about the early years the two spent acting as each other’s co-conspirators, a bond that later held true while they were both enrolled at the CHP Academy. She made reference to the goofy grin he flashed whenever they were together.
“Lucas has always been my role model, whether he knew it or not,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to be like him.”
She spoke as about 500 regional and state law enforcement and emergency personnel looked on from the church’s seats during the memorial service for her brother, the 31-year-old south Sacramento officer who died Feb. 22.
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An eight-year veteran of the department and father of two young children, Chellew suffered major injuries during his crash. The patrolman collided with another vehicle while involved in a high-speed chase with a fleeing motorcyclist in south Sacramento. The motorcyclist, identified by the CHP as Alberto Morales Quiroz, 26, was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail a day after the fatal accident and faces felony evading a peace officer, vehicle theft and receiving stolen property charges.
Chellew’s family and wife, Christina Chellew, sat at the front of the crowd during the ceremony. CHP Commissioner Joseph Farrow, Gov. Jerry Brown and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra also attended.
Chellew’s coffin, covered in a large American flag, lay at the center of the church. Two CHP officers stood at each end, their heads bowed, throughout the procession.
“Today is a day of mourning, but it is also a great day of honor and reflection,” Farrow said. “Lucas was proud to be a California Highway Patrol officer.”
Farrow was one of several who spoke about the inevitable path that brought Chellew to the California agency. Born in Berkeley on Aug. 10, 1985, the patrolman was raised by Marion and Charles “ Chellew, now a retired North Sacramento CHP captain. The junior Chellew took a liking to the outdoors and was a Boy Scout, attaining the rank of Life Scout.
He graduated from Bear River High School in Grass Valley in 2003 and later enrolled into the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of sergeant. Despite a promising career in the military, Chellew returned home and soon enrolled into the CHP Academy in West Sacramento.
“For Luke, like all successful law enforcement officers, it’s not a job, it’s a calling,” said John McGinnis, retired Sacramento County sheriff, during the eulogy. “Ultimately, it was Luke who decided this was what he had to do.”
The young patrolman graduated from the academy May 15, 2009, and was sent to the West Valley division, where he eventually became a motor officer. His sister, who graduated from the academy a short while after him, was close by, working out of west Los Angeles.
Chellew was eventually transferred to the agency’s Capitol Protection section, where he patrolled the state’s Capitol as a mounted officer. It was during this time that he was introduced to his wife, an avid equestrian. The two married three years after their first date.
The couple have two children: 6-year-old Cameron and 1-year-old Hadley.
In July 2015, Chellew got back on his motorbike to work out of the south Sacramento CHP office. During his time there, the seasoned officer served as a mentor for teens interested in law enforcement through the agency’s Explorer program.
The ceremony came to a close as a drum and pipe band played “Amazing Grace.” Chellew’s casket was taken to an awaiting car by horse-drawn wagon as scores of law enforcement officials stood in silent salute.
The American flag that sat on his casket throughout the service was removed, carefully folded and handed to Farrow before reaching Chellew’s wife.