Traffic officer Hugo Olazar was tragically killed when a pickup truck, traveling 50 mph, plowed into the rear end of his squad car that was parked on the shoulder of northbound Interstate 280 in San Francisco.
Olazar and Officer Javier Rocha were awaiting tow-truck assistance for a single-car accident they were investigating when a Toyota pick-up driven by Jorge Perez hit their patrol car.
On impact, the patrol car burst into flames and the doors jammed shut on the officers.
After unsuccessfully attempting to kick out his window several times, Rocha shot out the passenger window with his pistol and escaped the burning car by climbing over the unconscious Olazar.
Rocha tried to pull his patrol partner from the fiery car, but was driven away by flames.
The CHP closed northbound lanes of the freeway for five hours while investigating the fatal accident.
Perez, 24, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol. Perez and two passengers, who were in his truck at the time of the accident, were treated at San Francisco General Hospital.
Officer Rocha was hospitalized at the Saint Francis Burn Center for second and third degree burns sustained in the initial collision and rescue attempts.
The 35-year-old Olazar joined the CHP’s San Francisco branch in 1982, transferred for a short time to Redwood City, and returned in July to San Francisco. He had prior service with the Pacifica Police Department. His wife, Denise, and a 6-month-old daughter, Ashley, both of San Mateo, survive him.