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One of two killed in crash on Highway 180 identified as off-duty Fresno Police Officer

Off-duty Fresno Police Officer Phia Vang was one of the two people who were killed in a multi-car pileup on Highway 180, Fresno Police say. (Photo: Fresno Police Officers' Association)

UPDATE: Tuesday, 11: 48 a.m.

The other driver in the pickup truck going the wrong way down Highway 180 has been identified as 33-year-old Cameron Pryor.

Fresno County court records show Pryor pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in 2011.

He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, fined and ordered to attend an alcohol program..

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UPDATE: Tuesday, 7:47 a.m.

The Fresno Police Department says off-duty Fresno Police Officer Phia Vang was killed in a multi-car pileup on Highway 180.

The crash killed two people, including Vang, and hurt several others on Monday.

CHP says a man in a white pickup truck was going the wrong way down 180 when he hit five cars before slamming head-on into Officer Vang's pickup truck, killing both drivers.

Mayor Lee Brand released the following statement on the passing of Fresno Police Officer Phia Vang:

“We are mourning the loss of Police Officer Phia Vang, who passed away Monday afternoon while involved in an off-duty car accident. Officer Vang was a well-loved and respected member of the Fresno Police Department, a 26-year veteran who was most recently assigned to the Fresno Area Express (FAX) Unit, and he will certainly be missed.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the Vang family during this most difficult time and my condolences go out to his fellow officers. We’re fortunate to live in a community that understands and appreciates the important role that law enforcement plays in our everyday lives. We’re a better city because of the brave and caring men and women of the Fresno Police Department.”

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Two people are dead and several others hurt after a seven-car pileup on Highway 180. It happened after a man drove the wrong way East of Fresno.

The California Highway Patrol says a man in a white pickup truck going the wrong way down 180 hit five cars, before slamming head-on into another car, killing both drivers.

“It’s an unfortunate circumstance. Both of the fatalities were seat belted, but in this case, it just wasn’t enough to help,” said Sergeant Joseph Bianchi with the California Highway Patrol.

There were seven people in the other five cars that were involved, but luckily, they only had minor injuries.

“I pulled over right away, and I was just in awe. I could have died on impact,” said Derek Ochoa, who was involved in the accident.

Ochoa wasn’t hurt, but is very rattled.

“I was driving on the freeway, and I see all these cars starting to slow down in front of me, and next thing I know, I’m going head on with a big white truck,” said Ochoa. “I just barely swerved out of the way, and he just nicked my car pretty good.”

The CHP got a call about the driver going the wrong way seconds before calls came in about the crash.

“Always just keep a high visual horizon. Try to avoid looking at the car in front of you, looking ahead is always going to be beneficial. If there’s anything you need to do in advance, giving yourself more time to react is always going to help out,” said Sergeant Bianchi.

The crash shut down highway-180 near McCall Avenue for hours while c-h-p tried to gather evidence in the rain.

The cars involved were towed away from the area.

A FOX26 News viewer captured footage of the man who drove the white pickup truck shortly before the crash. The video shows the man driving erratically, weaving between lanes, and even slamming into a guard rail.

Hoyos says at one point, the pickup truck driver stopped on the freeway, so Hoyos got out of his car to try to check on him. Hoyos says the man seemed like he might have been intoxicated, or maybe having a medical emergency.

The CHP is looking into whether drugs or alcohol were involved, but because the driver passed away, it will take them a bit longer to piece together exactly what happened here.

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