ELK GROVE (CBS13) – The off-duty Cosumnes firefighter who died in a solo-vehicle crash on Highway 99 on Saturday has now been identified by the Cosumnes Fire Department.
The victim was identified as 52-year-old Sacramento Native, Albaro Meraz.
Meraz leaves behind a wife and two children. He was a 17 year veteran with the Cosumnes Fire Department.
He was described as an active and dedicated firefighter who was well respected by everyone who knew him. He was an athlete who competed in the Boston Marathon and participated in the Battle of the Badges charity boxing program.
Cosumnes Fire Chief, Mike McLaughlin stated, “Firefighter Meraz was a deeply valued brother in the fire service, among the 185 members of the Cosumnes Fire family and our local community. Our hearts are broken for his wife Dina, son Josh, and daughter Cheyenne for their loss.”
Meraz received multiple awards throughout his career. In 2007, he received the Valor Award for his service in the course of duty.
In 2009, he received the Firemark award for his work distributing smoke detectors to non-English speaking residents in the community, He also taught first aid to farmers in the Sacramento area and taught modern firefighting techniques to firefighters from Mexico.
The California Highway Patrol tells CBS13 the accident was reported at 1:45 p.m. A 1971 Toyota was traveling southbound on Highway 99 crash into the median causing the vehicle rollover. CHP says other motorists did pull over to flip the firefighter’s private vehicle upright.
Meraz succumbed to his injuries and died on scene. Alcohol is not believed to have been a factor.
The accident caused a long backup along the highway, the roadways opened around 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon.