A California Highway Patrol officer has died as a result of injuries suffered in a collision on Nov. 23.
CHP Officer Andy Ornelas, 27, assigned to the Antelope Valley area, was on duty, in full uniform, riding a black-and-white Harley-Davidson motorcycle at 7:05 p.m. Nov. 23 east on R. Lee Ermey Boulevard (Avenue N) east of 34th Street West.
Zachary Thomas, 33, of Quartz Hill was driving a 2012 Ford F150 and towing a utility trailer east at the same location. He drove past his destination and pulled onto the southbound dirt shoulder, in preparation of executing a U-turn.
As Thomas pulled away from the shoulder, he made the U-turn directly in the path of the CHP officer’s motorcycle, causing it to collide with the front end of the pickup truck. As a result, the CHP officer was thrown from the motorcycle and landed on the north dirt shoulder.
Ornelas was transported to the Antelope Valley Hospital with major injuries. He succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday, according to a statement on the CHP’s Facebook page.
CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray issued the following statement:
“I am profoundly saddened upon receiving word this morning of the death of Officer Ornelas. For the last nine days, Andy has valiantly fought to stay alive, but despite his efforts, the tireless work of medical staff, and the continual support of family, friends, and the Antelope Valley squad, Andy succumbed to his injuries early this morning.
“On behalf of the entire CHP family, my thoughts are with Andy’s loved ones, the members of the Antelope Valley squad, and all who knew him as we all grieve his death and mourn the promising future this young officer had before him. We will never forget his service and the ultimate sacrifice he made on behalf of all Californians.”
Ornelas was a four-year veteran of the Department. He had been assigned to the Antelope Valley area since December 2019. He followed in the footsteps of his mother Kellie, who is a retired CHP officer from the same Antelope Valley Area office, and his father Arturo, a motorcycle officer with the Los Angeles Police Department.
He is survived by his wife Taylor, a brother Cody, who is a CHP officer assigned to the Central Los Angeles area office; sister Nikki and an uncle, retired CHP Capt. Andreas Ornelas.
Ornelas becomes the 232nd officer to die in the line of duty in the 91-year history of the CHP. Funeral services are pending.