FAIRFIELD (CBS13/AP) – An off-duty California Highway Patrol officer was killed while riding his motorcycle on Highway 12 near Red Top Road outside of Fairfield on Friday night.
CHP officials say John Fanene died after the motorcycle he was riding clipped a pickup truck that had turned in front of him on Highway 12 near Fairfield around 5:45 p.m. Friday. The impact knocked Fanene off his motorcycle, where he was hit by a car traveling in the opposite direction.
“We knew something bad had happened,” witness Cary Knutson said. “We knew he wasn’t just gonna walk away from it.”
Knutson says the off-duty CHP officer flew more than 200 feet after being thrown from his motorcycle when he clipped the back of the truck Knutson was riding in.
“I thought we’d made it off the road. I told my uncle to speed up but (the officer) hit the back of the truck,” said Knutson.
Solano CHP says the Toyota was making a left turn into a driveway, crossing two lanes of oncoming westbound traffic on Highway 12 near Red Top Road.
“As he got into that second lane of traffic, he noticed a motorcycle coming at him,” said Officer Chris Parker, Solano CHP.
It was the CHP officer riding his own motorcycle. Investigators say the truck sped up to get out of the way but it was too late.
The officer was launched from his bike after hitting the Toyota’s bumper and collided with another vehicle heading east. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
“Lot of accidents, I’ve lived here for almost 25 years. There’s been lots of head-ons, seen a lot of people die on this road,” said Joyce Derouen.
Derouen says it’s common for people to speed on the stretch of Canyon Road. CHP isn’t saying if that was a factor, but Knutson believes the officer was going too fast.
“It sounds kinda harsh, but it was his fault. He was kinda speeding really fast, like it happened so quick,” said Knutson. “We just saw two headlights, and the third headlight came out of nowhere.”
CHP isn’t saying anything about who’s at fault, or whether speed may have been a factor.