Calif. deputy dies following on-duty crash
“In a final act of service above self, it was Deputy Harris’ wish to donate his organs so that others may live,” Sheriff Chad Bianco said
Duty Death: Brett Harris - [Hemet]
End of Service: 13/05/2023
By Mona Darwish
HEMET, Calif. — A Riverside County sheriff’s deputy critically injured in a collision on Friday, May 12 has died, the Sheriff’s Department announced Sunday morning.
Brett Harris, 26, who was assigned to the Hemet station, was responding as backup to a call when his Ford Explorer patrol SUV collided with a Nissan Maxima in a San Jacinto intersection, authorities said.
The deputy was driving west on Esplanade Avenue and a 54-year-old woman from Hemet was driving north on State Street when the SUV and sedan collided at about 2:15 a.m. The intersection has traffic signals.
The SUV was hit on the driver’s side. After the collision, it crashed into a light pole.
Harris suffered major injuries, including a catastrophic brain injury, the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.
A second deputy injured a knee when he tried to free the critically injured deputy from the SUV, said Sgt. Wenndy Brito-Gonzalez, a department spokeswoman. Harris had to be cut out of the vehicle. The second deputy was treated at a hospital and released.
The civilian driver and a second person were hospitalized, authorities said. Their injuries were described as moderate and minor.
CHP Officer Jason Montez did not say which driver was at fault. The CHP is investigating the crash.
Harris’ survivors include his wife, parents, twin sister and a brother. Funeral arrangements are pending.
The deputy’s organs will be donated, the Sheriff’s Department announced. A procession in honor of Harris are pending because of the organ donation process.
“The Harris family is currently working with the hospital to ensure his wishes are honored,” Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said Sunday morning.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has seen other line-of-duty deaths in recent months.
Deputy Darnell Calhoun, 30, was shot in a development of single-family homes in the unincorporated community of Lakeland Village near Lake Elsinore in January. That shooting was one week after a memorial service for Deputy Isaiah Cordero, 32, who was killed during a traffic stop in Jurupa Valley on Dec. 29.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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