I-80 deaths lead to dual-state Highway Patrol 'challenge'

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Solano County CHP/Facebook

Officer Kirk Griess died Aug. 10 in a collision at the side of Interstate 80.


The California Highway Patrol is teaming with its Nevada counterpart this coming Labor Day weekend to reduce distracted and reckless driving along Interstate 80 from San Francisco to the Utah state line.

The effort will include enhancing traffic safety, enforcement and education along the highway, which travels through Placer County.

And it follows another death on Interstate 80 that hits particularly close to home for the Highway Patrol. Officer Kirk Griess was killed Aug. 10 during a traffic stop along with a Vallejo resident he had pulled over. Another vehicle struck them both on I-80 at North Texas Street in Fairfield.

"In the wake of the recent loss of one of our officers and the motorist he had contacted on the shoulder of I-80, we are pleased to partner with the Nevada Highway Patrol and other Northern California law-enforcement agencies in challenging all motorists to drive safely," Commissioner Warren Stanley said. "We hope to accomplish our goal by educating motorists to follow the rules of the road and drive safely."

The "I-80 Challenge" coincides with the Highway Patrol's annual Labor Day Maximum Enforcement Period, which starts at 6:01 p.m. Friday.

During the challenge period, the Highway Patrol will increase traffic safety operations to educate and, if necessary, take enforcement action on drivers who violate traffic laws along the busy freeway through the two states.