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Las Vegas teen charged in CHP officer's death

June 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Las Vegas teenager was charged Tuesday with vehicular manslaughter and other felony counts in the death of California Highway Patrol Officer Justin McGrory.Rafael Garcia, 18, veered onto the shoulder and struck McGrory, 28, who had pulled a car over for a traffic ticket on the shoulder of Interstate 15 near Barstow.

Garcia was also charged with child endangerment and transporting of marijuana. A 12-year-old child was in his car. Garcia could face eight years in prison if he's convicted.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney's office says 68 grams of marijuana were found in Garcia's vehicle and lab tests are being done to determine if Garcia was under the influence of marijuana or alcohol at the time of the crash.

Garcia remains in custody at the San Bernardino County Jail.

McGrory is the fifth CHP officer killed in the line of duty since May.

No cause has yet been determined for the crash that killed CHP pilot Danny Benavides, whose plane went down in a desert area, May 7 in Imperial County.

A memorial service is being held Wednesday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels for CHP motorcycle officer Phillip Ortiz, who died last week from injuries suffered June 9 after being struck while on the shoulder of Interstate 405 in Los Angeles.

Two days later, CHP motorcycle officer Tom Coleman, 33, of Fontana was killed after hitting a big rig while chasing a car at speeds up to 100 mph near Redlands. Richard Perez, 20, of Redlands has pleaded not guilty to murder in Coleman's case.

Sunday, CHP Officer Brett Oswald, 47, was killed when a woman lost control of her car and rear-ended his patrol car, catapulting the officer into the air. Oswald was waiting for a tow truck to remove an abandoned vehicle near Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County.


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