The investigation continues into Saturday's death of a Stanislaus County Sheriff's deputy and a community service officer during a collision while in route to a burglary call in Modesto.
Killed in the crash just after 8 a.m. Saturday near Crows Landing Road and Seventh Street were Deputy Jason Garner and Community Service Officer Raschel Johnson. Garner had been with the Sheriff's Department for nine years and six months, while Johnson had put in 15 years and five months at the department, with the last eight years as a Community Service Officer. She had recently been promoted to a lead training CSO and had transferred from Patterson.
The California Highway Patrol's Central Division Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team is handling the investigation into the single vehicle collision.
The pair was responding to a report of a burglary when the patrol car crashed into some property at Modesto Auto Wreckers. The patrol car was quickly engulfed in flames. Both Garner and Johnson were pronounced deceased at the scene.
Undersheriff Ralph Ghimenti said a neighboring business had surveillance footage showing the patrol car traveling at a high rate of speed before it crashed. He said it was not known why the vehicle was speeding because they were not responding to an in-progress call.
CHP Capt. Julian Irigoyen said that a complete analysis of the event could take some time.
Garner is survived by his wife and four children. Johnson is survived by her mother and father and three children.
"Our condolences go out the families," said Ghimenti. "Jason was a well-liked deputy and Raschel was a CSO that would go the extra mile."
Stanislaus County Adam Christianson was attending the National Peace Officer's Memorial in Washington D.C. when he heard the news about the loss of his two employees. Christianson was at the memorial to honor Deputy Dennis Wallace, who was fatally shot exactly six months prior on Nov. 13, 2016. Christianson flew back to Stanislaus County to help his department through this latest tragedy.
The Sheriff's Department stated on their Facebook page: "Our hearts are broken and we pray for Deputy Garner's family, Community Service Officer Johnson's family, and all the members of our department who are dealing with another tragic loss."
The Sheriff's Department warned people to be wary about scams looking to profit off the tragedy. The department stated they had learned of one phony Go Fund Me account looking to make money from the donations of community members. The account used the photos of Garner and Johnson and has since been taken down. Investigators are looking into who started the account.
The department also is warning of phone callers soliciting donations for the two surviving families. The department, nor any associated organization or group, are collecting donations via phone calls.
"Exploiting the Garner family and the Johnson family by soliciting fraudulent donations is a despicable criminal act," said Sheriff Adam Christiansen. "If identified, those criminal cowards will be arrested and prosecuted."
The Stanislaus Sworn Deputies Association is in the process of establishing a Memorial Fund for Deputy Garner and CSO Johnson. Once the fund is established, the information will be shared on their Facebook page and the website at www.scsdonline.com.
The Johnson family has established an approved GoFundMe account at www.gofundme.com/memorial-fund-for-cso-johnson.