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Chain-Reaction Crash Kills Officer, Motorist

January 02, 2006|From Associated Press

SANTA CRUZ — A California Highway Patrol officer responding to an accident was killed when a car lost control and caused a chain-reaction crash.

Lt. Mike Walker had pulled onto the shoulder of California 17 in the Santa Cruz Mountains about 10 p.m. Saturday to help other officers and a California Department of Transportation worker, CHP spokesman Sgt. Wayne Ziese said.

Walker, 47, was setting up road flares when a car lost control and plowed into the back of a parked Caltrans truck, which struck Walker, Ziese said.

Walker was taken to Dominican Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 11 p.m.

The driver of the car, Jerry Blinkenberg, 31, of Boulder Creek, Calif., was also killed in the crash.

Another officer was treated for minor injuries, Ziese said.

Authorities said it was not raining at the time, and alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the crash.

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