Vigil Planned For Two SDPD Detectives Killed By Wrong-Way Driver
A vigil to honor two San Diego Police Department detectives — a married couple who died in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 5 — was scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday at a park in the Harmony Grove Village neighborhood of Escondido.
SDPD and Escondido Police Department representatives, along with the detectives' neighbors, were expected to attend the "blue light vigil" at Fourth of July Community Park on Sunday evening.
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SDPD Detectives Ryan Park and Jamie Huntley-Park were killed Friday morning in a fiery head-on collision caused by a speeding motorist going the wrong way on I-5 near the U.S.-Mexico border.
The errant driver's Honda Civic was traveling as fast as 90 mph to the north on the southbound side of the freeway before smashing into an oncoming Ford sedan occupied by the SDPD detectives near Dairy Mart Road in San Ysidro shortly before 10:30 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.
The woman driving the Honda Civic died at the scene, the CHP said. Her name was not released.
On Sunday morning, the couple's neighbors wrapped the park in blue ribbons and made signs for the vigil.
Organizers said they did not know how many people would attend the vigil, but expected a law enforcement presence, coming together to honor the two detectives.
The vigil participants will use flashlights instead of candles because of the fire danger, organizers said.
Park and Huntley-Park married in 2016 after having met at the SDPD police academy in April 2012, said SDPD Chief David Nisleit. They eventually rose to the rank of detective together in July 2018.
"You couldn't have met two nicer kids," Nisleit said. "Both their lives and their careers were definitely on a very, very rapid trend upwards."
"We are one huge family here in the city of San Diego, and so when the San Diego Police Department loses two members, it hurts," Nisleit added. "It hurts the department, it hurts this city."
Hours after the crash, Mayor Todd Gloria issued a statement lamenting the loss of the two detectives.
"It is with heavy hearts that we mourn our two San Diego Police Department officers whose lives were tragically taken this morning," Gloria wrote.
"In the coming days, we will learn more about these public servants who proudly donned the badge to keep all of us safe, and we will honor them for their service."