‘Thank you, dad’: Family, department mourns Fresno Police Officer killed in head-on crash

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Fresno Police Officer killed in wrong-way crash, CHP says

On Tuesday, we confirmed the names of two people killed in a head-on crash Monday, east of Fresno.

The victim was a Fresno Police Officer, 48-year-old Phia Vang. Vang was a 26-year veteran of the Fresno Police Department.

Fresno Police say Vang was off duty when he was hit head on. 

The man who hit him — 33-year-old Cameron Pryor — who the California Highway Patrol says he was driving the wrong way on Highway 180.

Pryor also died in the crash.  It’s unknown at this point what caused him to drive on the opposite side of the freeway.

We spoke to his family and colleagues, who say Vang leaves behind an incredible legacy.

“Is this real? I felt like I was in a dream and I just wanted to wake up,” says Corey Vang, Phia Vang’s eldest son.

Vang, the eldest son of a well loved and respected Fresno Police Officer, reeling over the sudden loss of his father.

“At first I didn’t believe it because it’s just one of those things you don’t take easily; you don’t swallow that at first,” says Vang.

Shocking cell phone video from a witness shows a white pick up truck driving recklessly, heading eastbound on Highway 180, Monday night.

CHP confirmed with us the driver in the video is Pryor, a real estate agent from Fresno.

The witness captures the moments right before the fatal crash, near McCall Avenue.

Then the final destruction that took Pryor’s life and the life of 48-year-old Fresno Police Officer Phia Vang.

“It’s upsetting but at the same time, I was taught to forgive and forget,” says Vang.

But Vang said he and his family are shaken to their core.

“It’s been rough, there’s a lot of crying.” 

He adds, “A lot of tears dropping, but we’re hanging in there, we have a lot of support.”

Vang describing his father as a fun loving, jokester, kind of dad.

In Vang’s 26 years on the force he worked several assignments, most recently, he covered the “Fresno Area Express” unit of the Fresno Police Department. 

“Phia also worked part of our M.A.G.E.C unit, multi-agency gang enforcement consortium, as well and was a gang expert in his own right and he helped keep our streets safe for many years,” says Deputy Chief Pat Farmer, with the Fresno Police.

Vang’s brothers in blue say he was a mentor to many in the Hmong community and the City of Fresno.

“We’ve been grieving and mourning his loss and it’s a big blow to the Fresno Police Department,” says Farmer.

Vang’s son adding, “I’m proud, cause he did something and I want to reflect that to the community too.”

Fresno County Court records show Pryor plead guilty to driving under the influence in 2011.

An autopsy will be done on Pryor to determine if drugs or alcohol were involved in Monday’s crash.

Corey Vang says right now his family is focused on gratitude, proud of his father and the life the two shared. 

“It means a lot to me, thank you dad, it means a lot,” he says. “Hopefully you’re looking from above and you’re proud of me.” 

We’re told multiple people called 9-1-1 before the crash, reporting a reckless driver but officers were not able to get there in time.

The California Highway Patrol says Pryor hit seven cars in total. The other victims suffered minor to moderate injuries.

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