The driver accused of hitting and killing a California Highway Patrol officer and motorist last week was arrested Wednesday and will be charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter, officials said.
Sean Matthew Walker, 36, of Rocklin was arrested in connection with the crash Friday on westbound Interstate 80 in Fairfield. Walker was behind the wheel of a Chevrolet pickup truck that killed CHP Officer Kirk Griess, 49, and motorist Jaime Bueza Manuel, 46, during a traffic stop near Manuel Campos Parkway.
According to Capt. Mark Headrick, CHP Solano area commander, investigators found evidence that Walker was using his phone when the incident occurred and was speeding. The combination of these two factors is what led to the deaths of Griess and Manuel, Headrick said.
“This is a preventable collision that could have been stopped,” Headrick said. “Answering a phone or sending or answering a text can result in the tragic consequences that we witnessed this last week.”
Walker is in custody at the Solano County Jail. His arraignment is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. According to the Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams, Walker could face nearly 8 years in prison if convicted.
Griess, a former Marine, served in the CHP for 19 years, the last 16 years at the department’s Solano County office. He’s survived by his wife, two adult daughters and 14-year-old son, all of which are residents of Solano County. A memorial fund to support his family has been set up by the CHP.
Manuel moved to the U.S. from the Philippines 10 years ago, according to friend Rick Naval. He worked as a caregiver, and is survived by his wife and his daughter who still live in the Philippines. As of Wednesday afternoon, $4,230 has been raised in a GoFundMe campaign intended to fund Manuel’s funeral costs and send his remains to the Philippines.