ESCONDIDO, Calif. (CNS) – A vigil to honor two San Diego Police Department detectives — a married couple who died in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 5 — was held Sunday at a park in the Harmony Grove Village neighborhood of Escondido.
SDPD and Escondido Police Department representatives, along with the detectives’ neighbors, were in attendance at the “blue light vigil” at Fourth of July Community Park on Sunday evening.
SDPD Detectives Ryan Park and Jamie Huntley-Park were killed Friday morning in a fiery head-on collision caused by a speeding motorist going the wrong way on I-5 near the U.S.-Mexico border.
The errant driver’s Honda Civic was traveling as fast as 90 mph to the north on the southbound side of the freeway before smashing into an oncoming Ford sedan occupied by the SDPD detectives near Dairy Mart Road in San Ysidro shortly before 10:30 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.
The woman driving the Honda Civic died at the scene, the CHP said. Her name was not released.
On Sunday morning, the couple’s neighbors wrapped the park in blue ribbons and made signs for the vigil.
San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit was among the law enforcement officials and local leaders who attended.
“I’ve seen your faces. I’ve seen how this hurts. It hurts and there’s no way other than to say it just hurts and it sucks and it shouldn’t have happened,” Nisleit said.
A friend of the couple, Alex Morrison, also spoke at the vigil, and said “With this awful tragedy we all can bring a few things into our lives that can help keep Jamie and Ryan alive within our communities; love unconditionally, take advantage of opportunities that present themselves, live with no regrets.”
The vigil participants used flashlights instead of candles because of the fire danger, organizers said.
Park and Huntley-Park married in 2016 after having met at the SDPD police academy in April 2012, according to San Diego Police. They eventually rose to the rank of detective together in July 2018.
Hours after the crash, Mayor Todd Gloria issued a statement lamenting the loss of the two detectives.
“It is with heavy hearts that we mourn our two San Diego Police Department officers whose lives were tragically taken this morning,” Gloria wrote.
“In the coming days, we will learn more about these public servants who proudly donned the badge to keep all of us safe, and we will honor them for their service.”
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