SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The widow of fallen CHP officer Kirk Griess is speaking out on camera for the first time since her husband was killed six months ago.
“He loved his job, loved what he did, and he loved serving his community,” Keri Griess said.
A man suspected of using a cellphone is accused of running down Kirk on Interstate 80 last August while he was on patrol in Solano County. Now Keri is hoping a proposed new law will help curb these types of crimes.
“I have three kids that I have to sit and now watch grow up with no father and have weddings and their dad’s not here,” Keri said.
READ ALSO: Fallen CHP Officer Kirk Griess Laid To Rest
Kirk was struck by a pickup truck while he was conducting a separate traffic stop on the shoulder of I-80 last August. Both he and the man he pulled over were killed. Investigators believe the person who hit them, Sean Walker, was using a cellphone at the time of the crash.
Now Keri is speaking out about the dangers of distracted driving.
“Nobody else should have to go through what myself and my kids are going through, nobody should have to,” Keri said.
She supports a new bill in the legislature which would increase penalties for those caught talking or texting while driving. If passed, the new law would make it so violators get a point added to their driving record.
Keri says too many people are ignoring the current law, and she hopes tougher rules will increase compliance.
“I think that until you hit people with their pocketbooks and you let them know that it’s not okay, they’re not going to stop doing it,” she said.
She has a couple of good reasons to make sure no one else is impacted by distracted driving. Her oldest daughter is now a Solano County Sheriff’s Deputy, patrolling the same area as her dad. And her son is just about to learn how to drive.
Keri hopes her family’s loss will compel others to think twice before taking a call or responding to a text behind the wheel.
“We don’t make changes until something drastic happens, and maybe he was that drastic thing that had to happen for a change,” she said.
The driver, Sean Walker, is still awaiting trial on two counts of manslaughter and could serve seven years in prison if convicted.