SAN DIEGO — Thursday August 25, 2011. An off-duty San Diego police officer riding his motorcycle died Wednesday night after running a red light and broadsiding a truck, police said.
He has been identified as 26-year-old Christopher Blakeley, San Diego police Lt. Andra Brown said.
Blakeley was heading west on Main Street at Hollister Street at 9:41 p.m. when he ran the red light, Brown said. The crash occurred in the San Diego neighborhood of Palm City at the border with Chula Vista.
Blakeley’s Ducati bike hit a pickup heading south with such force the truck ended up on its roof.
“Per witnesses, it appears the motorcycle was (traveling) at a very high speed just prior to impact and struck the truck in such a manner that it was able to flip the vehicle over,” police Sgt. Ron Glass said.
The officer, who lived in Chula Vista, was pronounced dead at the scene six minutes later. Two people in the truck suffered minor injuries, police said.
Before joining the Police Department in 2008, Blakeley was in the Navy for four years. He had been a police officer for three years and seven months and had worked out of the southeastern division.
His supervisor, Lt. Debbie Farrar, described Blakeley as a genuine, sweet and gentle young man.
“He was someone who had come from a difficult background, and because of that he had a lot of compassion for people going through problems,” Farrar said. “He had appreciation for those who had less, and he never forgot where he came from.”
She said she got to know Blakeley when he volunteered for the annual “Shop with a Cop” event, in which law enforcement officers shop with an underprivileged child before Christmas.
“He told me, ‘I was once one of those kids that went shopping with a cop, and it’s nice to be able to pay it forward,’” Farrar recalled.
He was even known to remind other officers that giving out warnings, rather than citations, was always an option, because “if you give them a ticket, it’s going to cost them a lot of money.”
Blakeley worked the graveyard shift and was continuing his education, working toward his bachelor’s degree.
He loved his motorcycle and often talked to other officers about it.
Farrar said community members have been dropping off flowers at the station all morning in the officer’s memory. Chaplains will be at the station throughout the day to offer support to department personnel.
Blakeley is survived by his mother, a brother and an ex-wife. Services are expected to be held next week, but no time or location has been set yet, police Detective Gary Hassen said.
Blakeley is the fourth San Diego police officer to die in a little more than a month, and the fifth to die in less than a year.
Child abuse unit Detective Donna Williams, 52, and her 18-year-old daughter, Briana, were stabbed to death at their Rancho Peñasquitos home on July 18, allegedly by Williams’ son Brian. On Aug. 1, Officer David Hall, 41, committed suicide at his home in Clairemont. Hall was awaiting trial on drunken-driving and hit-and-run charges. A week later, on Aug. 7, Officer Jeremy Henwood, 36, was killed by a suicidal gunman who pulled alongside his patrol car in City Heights and opened fire. Henwood was a captain in the Marine reserves who had returned this year from duty in Afghanistan. He was promoted posthumously to major. Officer Christopher Wilson, 50, died Oct. 28 after he was called to a Skyline apartment to help arrest a fugitive and was met with gunfire.