The arraignment of a Rocklin man charged with the gross vehicular manslaughter of a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer and a Vallejo man last week was postponed in Solano County Superior Court Thursday until Sept. 12 after he posted $90,000 bail, according to the Solano County District Attorney’s Office.
Sean Matthew Walker, 36, was speeding on the shoulder of westbound Interstate 80 while accessing his cellphone when his Chevrolet pickup truck struck CHP Officer Kirk Anthony Griess, 46, and Jaime Bueza Manuel, 49, of Vallejo, around 9 a.m. Friday, prosecutors said.
Griess, a 19-year CHP veteran, had pulled Manuel’s Saturn SUV over on Interstate 80 near Manuel Campos Parkway.
“There is no way to determine the reason for the stop. Investigators are trying to determine where he (Griess) was at the time,” CHP Officer Erica Tatum said Thursday afternoon.
Walker was speeding at the time of the collision and was completely on the shoulder, Tatum said.
The district attorney’s office and the CHP said Walker was distracted at the time of the crash.
“This was gross negligence,” District Attorney Krishna Abrams said Wednesday.
Walker was hospitalized after the crash but was released last Friday.
Manuel’s family also is trying to come to terms with his death. His 20-year-old daughter Jamie Manuel of the Philippines said her father moved to the U.S. 10 years ago to help provide for his family. She said he just finished putting her through St. Paul University in Manila.
“If I’m going to expect my dad to die, I expect him to die of illness. It so happens he dies of a car crash; out of the middle of nowhere, this news came he died,” she said. “It’s a timely thing that I finished college before all this happened. I think my dad finished his mission for me.”
Manuel said though she wants the driver to face consequences, she forgives him.
“We will pray for him as much as we pray for the two souls,” she said.
The family hopes to bring Jaime Manuel home to the Philippines for burial. A GoFundMe campaign was launched to help them with the costs.
Memorial services for Griess are set for 11 a.m. Friday at The Father’s House Church, located at 4800 Horse Creek Drive in Vacaville. Internment is private and members of the public are invited to line the funeral procession routes to honor Griess and his family.
A memorial account has been created for the family of Officer Griess through the California Association of Highway Patrolmen (CAHP) Credit Union. Donations can be made online at https://cahpcu.org/OfficerKirkGriessMemorial or may be mailed to the CAHP Credit Union, P.O. Box 276507, Sacramento, CA 95826.
NBC Bay Area’s Jodi Hernandez contributed to this report.
Photo Credit: Solano County Sheriff’s Office
Source: NBC Bay Area