A vigil to honor married San Diego Police Department detectives who died in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 5 was held Sunday at an Escondido park.
SDPD and Escondido Police Department representatives, along with the detectives’ neighbors gathered for the “blue light vigil” at Fourth of July Park, 2815 Starry Night Drive.
Detectives Ryan Park and Jamie Huntley-Park died 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 detectives.
The wreck took place 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 has not been 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, but expected a major law enforcement presence, to honor the detectives.
Vigil participants were told to use flashlights instead of candles because of fire dangers, 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 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.”