Charles “Chuck” Chellew stood at the California Highway Patrol Academy courtyard in West Sacramento on Thursday, surrounded by his wife, daughter and other close family members. In front of him, hundreds of local law enforcement members stood silently in salute as a lone bell tone echoed through the facility.
The ceremony was held at the same location where the former North Sacramento CHP captain had pinned his son, Lucas Chellew, with a shiny Highway Patrol badge eight years before during his graduation ceremony from the academy, CHP Commissioner Joseph Farrow said.
Three months later, the former captain would experience the same honor, except that time with his daughter, Hanna Chellew.
“I think he had the same dreams for his children,” Farrow said. “That they would have a career in the California Highway Patrol and maybe, God willing, he would be there at the end when they retired and he could give them their retirement badge.”
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That vision was cut short Wednesday evening, Farrow said. Lucas Chellew died during a high-speed chase just after the beginning of his shift in south Sacramento. The eight-year veteran and father of two was pursuing a fleeing motorcyclist on Fruitridge Road, east of Highway 99, about 5:45 p.m.
The chase ended about a minute later, just past Stockton Boulevard, after a silver car crossed the 31-year-old’s path. Chellew, who was driving a motorcycle at the time of the chase, collided with the right side of the car and was ejected from his motorbike, CHP officials said.
He suffered major injuries from the crash and was taken to UC Davis Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 6:11 p.m.
“Officer Chellew realized what a CHP officer should always be, a dedicated, selfless public servant,” Farrow said to the hundreds of law enforcement members who attended a bell toll ceremony midday Thursday. “He will not be forgotten.”
The entire south Sacramento CHP office, Highway Patrol officers from the north and east Sacramento divisions, as well as officers from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and the Sacramento Police Department joined the ceremonial bell ringing. Flags were set at half-staff as CHP officers rang the bell.
Chellew’s wife, and two children – a 6-year-old son and a 18-month-old daughter – stood at the front of the ceremony along with the rest of the Chellew family. Hanna Chellew, who graduated from the CHP Academy in the same year as her brother, was also in attendance.
Chellew began his career with the CHP after graduating from the West Sacramento academy in May 2009. He was working in south Sacramento at the time of his death, according to a CHP news release.
A Placer Herald newspaper article published in 2009 said he was a 2003 graduate of Bear River High School in Nevada County and would later serve five years in the Army, attaining the rank of sergeant.
The motorcyclist involved in Wednesday’s chase and the driver of the silver vehicle that intercepted the pursuit have not been found. Farrow said CHP investigators have talked to numerous witnesses to the collision and are searching through video footage in connection with the incident.
“I will tell you that he was in pursuit of a motorcycle that was attempting to flee,” Farrow said. “The rest is stuff that we are putting together.”