PALMDALE – The California Highway Patrol held a bell toll tribute ceremony Thursday morning for Andy Ornelas, a 27-year-old motorcycle officer who died from injuries sustained when he collided with a pickup truck in Palmdale while on his way to the scene of a collision on the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway.
The brief virtual ceremony (view video above) was held at the CHP Academy in Sacramento, and it was hosted by Commissioner Amanda Ray, along with the Academy’s commander, Capt. Anthony Coronado.
“Officer Ornelas joins a selfless group of heroes who have sacrificed their lives for the safety, service and security of others,” Ray said. “We are forever grateful for his loyal and dedicated service and show gratitude to his family for their sacrifice.”
“Unfortunately, Andy will be the 232nd California Highway Patrol Officer added to our memorial fountain,” Coronado said. “He will never be forgotten and he will always be honored in this sacred area of the academy.”
On Nov. 23, around 7:05 p.m., Officer Ornelas was riding his departmental motorcycle eastbound on Avenue North when a pickup truck pulled from the right shoulder to make a U-turn directly in Ornelas’ path. Ornelas’ motorcycle struck the other vehicle, causing him to be thrown from his motorcycle. He was transported to Antelope Valley Hospital, where he died of his injuries on Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Officer Ornelas, who had been with the CHP for four years, is survived by his wife Taylor; his mother, retired CHP Officer Kellie Ornelas; his father, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Arturo Ornelas; his brother, CHP Officer Cody Ornelas; and his sister, Nikki Ornelas. His uncle, Andreas Ornelas, is a retired CHP captain.
Several agencies in the Los Angeles County shared their condolences on Twitter.
“An LAPD officer mourns the loss of his son Andy, as does the entire LAPD family,” LAPD Commanding Officer Gerald Woodyard wrote. “A grateful community honors CHP Officer Andy Ornelas … as he has made the ultimate sacrifice. Keep the family, friends and loved ones in your prayers, during this unthinkable tragedy.”
The Lancaster sheriff’s station tweeted: “With the heaviest of hearts we share that AV Officer Andy Ornelas ended his watch… Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends at CHP-Antelope Valley and Officer Ornelas’ friends and family.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statement saying he and his wife, Jennifer, “extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and fellow officers grieving the devastating loss of Officer Ornelas. California is grateful for Officer Ornelas’ dedication to carrying on his family’s tradition of public service and honors his work to keep our communities safe.”
A memorial fund that will be given directly to Ornelas’ wife was established by the CAHP Credit Union. Those wishing to donate can visit https://bit.ly/3lyjpWK.
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