RIVERBANK (CBS13) — A community is in mourning after a horrific crash that claimed the life of a beloved deputy from Stanislaus County who was assisting police in a late night pursuit.
The man they were chasing was a convicted DUI driver who was behind the wheel suspected of being impaired, again.
Cristian Contreras and Aileen Hernandez were on their way to grab a quick bite to eat when they noticed the sirens coming from behind. Then, suddenly a patrol car crashed into a power pole.
“We were trying to yell at him, saying ‘hey, hey, hey,’ trying to get a response back,” said Contreras.
The deputy inside the patrol car was Antonio Hinostroza, 45, a 19-year veteran with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department. He was responding to assist Riverbank Police with a vehicle pursuit when he crashed and died.
“We did what we could. We called 911. His horn was on when he made the impact,” Contreras said.
The couple quickly moved their car in order to block incoming traffic. They also placed caution tape they found on the ground and secured the scene before first responders arrived.
“…It hurts me because he was on his way to help us, all of us,” she said.
The driver police were chasing was Jonathan Carrillo, 30, who is suspected of driving under the influence. Police found him prior to the chase inside his car, passed out and blocking an intersection.
“It’s heartbreaking for everyone,” said Sheriff Adam Christianson.
Carrillo was eventually taken into custody and charged with driving under the influence, felony evasion and resisting arrest. He is not charged with the deputy’s death. The sheriff said it will be up to the district attorney.
“Any law enforcement agency that suffers a line of duty death somehow, they always find a way to carry on. It’s hard, very hard,” he said.
Over the phone, Carrillo’s loved ones say they are heartbroken. He called around 3 a.m. to left the family know he was in jail. Carrillo is due in court for a previous DUI charged on December 14.