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Memorial services will be public for Stanislaus sheriff employees killed in crash

Law Enforcement Procession for Sheriff’s Crash Victims

Law enforcement vehicles from the Stanislaus Sheriff's Department, Modesto Police and other agencies escort the bodies of Deputy Jason Garner and Community Service Officer Raschel Johnson to the county coroner's office. (Marijke Rowland/mrowland@m
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Law enforcement vehicles from the Stanislaus Sheriff's Department, Modesto Police and other agencies escort the bodies of Deputy Jason Garner and Community Service Officer Raschel Johnson to the county coroner's office. (Marijke Rowland/mrowland@m

The public can attend separate memorial services next week for two Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department employees killed in a patrol car crash Saturday. And a public information officer for the California Highway Patrol said Wednesday that the investigation into the crash is complex and will take “a long time” to conclude.

The service for Deputy Jason Garner will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at CrossPoint Community Church, 1301 12th St., Modesto. A day later, Community Service Officer Raschel Johnson will he honored in a 10 a.m. service at The House Modesto church, 1601 Coffee Road.

People planning to attend the services should arrive early because parking will be limited. More details will be announced in the coming days, according to a Facebook post from the Sheriff’s Department.

Garner was driving the car and Johnson was a passenger when it crashed on Crows Landing Road Saturday morning. They were responding to a report of a burglary that no longer was in progress. The accident remains under investigation by the CHP’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team.

“We’re looking at a lot of surveillance video from along Crows Landing Road, to decipher the driving pattern,” said Officer Thomas Olsen, spokesman for the CHP’s Modesto office. “We saw the earlier video (surveillance footage from a Crows Landing Road business) – everyone’s seen that.” Investigators are looking for something to indicate why the car was “traveling at a higher rate of speed and provide some clarity as to why the collision occurred.”

Garner was going north on Crows Landing Road approaching Seventh Street. Video shows the vehicle skidding off the road and kicking up a plume of dust seconds before the crash.

The road there “is pretty rough, but the reality is it’s like a lot of road surface in the county,” Olsen said. “There’s a lot of loose gravel on the shoulders, but if you stay on the roadway, it’s fine.”

The county Board of Supervisors has four public hearings set for its 9 a.m. meeting Tuesday. Board members will begin the meeting, take a break to attend the service for Garner and reconvene at noon for the public hearings.

The hearings are for a proposed amphitheater at The Fruit Yard east of Modesto; an expansion of Bronco Winery south of Ceres; an environmental study on the Seventh Street Bridge project; and assessments for Service Area 8 in Empire.

Gofundme accounts to help the Garner and Johnson families have been set up at www.gofundme.com/jason-garner-memorial-fund and www.gofundme.com/memorial-fund-for-cso-johnson.

Bee staff writers Deke Farrow and Ken Carlson contributed to this report.

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