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‘It wasn’t pretty’: Officer and motorist die when truck swerves into them during traffic stop, investigators say

A routine traffic stop turned deadly for a motorcycle trooper and the driver he detained on the roadside along Interstate 80 in California this week.

According to KTVU, California Highway Patrol officer Kirk Griess stopped a Saturn SUV around 9 a.m. on Friday near the Manuel Campos Parkway in Fairfield.

A passing vehicle reportedly struck both individuals, according to reports, and the driver appeared to have swerved toward the vehicles stopped on the shoulder.

Both individuals were transported to an area hospital from the scene, where they were pronounced dead a short time later.

The driver of the truck was also reportedly injured and was still being treated for his injuries as of the latest reports available.

Officials had not determined the speed of the truck that caused their deaths as of the latest updates available. But Golden Gate Division Chief Ernie Sanchez said the damage done to the SUV was substantial.

“The impact was very significant,” he said. “The Saturn is about half the size it should be. It wasn’t pretty.”

Griess was described as a former Marine and a father of three. He leaves behind a wife, two adult daughters and a 14-year-old son.

California Highway Patrol Commissioner Warren Stanley described the fallen officer as “the ultimate public servant,” adding that he loved what he did.

“He’s going to be dearly missed,” Stanley said of Griess.

The crash remains under investigation and officials indicate the driver responsible is cooperating with authorities at an area hospital.

Eyewitnesses are asked to report what they saw to officers by calling the Golden Gate Division Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team at 707-917-4357.

[Featured image: Kirk Griess/California Highway Patrol, handout]