LANCASTER – Funeral services were held Wednesday in Lancaster for California Highway Patrol Officer Andy Ornelas, who was fatally injured in an on-duty crash in Palmdale.
Ornelas, who was assigned to the Antelope Valley area office, was on patrol Nov. 23 when his CHP motorcycle collided with a pickup truck. He died of his injuries on Dec. 2.
Ornelas, 27, was a 3 1/2-year veteran of the CHP and came from a law enforcement family. His father, Art Ornelas, is a Los Angeles Police Department officer, and his mother, Kellie, is a retired CHP officer. His brother, Cody, is also a CHP officer.
He is additionally survived by his wife, Taylor, and sister, Nikki Ornelas.
The outdoor services were held at 10 a.m. at the JetHawk Stadium, where the flag-draped casket was viewed by socially distanced mourners seated in the infield of the baseball stadium as well as streamed live online due to COVID-19 safety protocols.
Among those who spoke was Ornelas’ brother.
“You were Superman to me,” CHP Officer Cody Ornelas said. “You could do anything and make it look easy. You’re not only my brother, my blood, but also a brother in arms, my inspiration, my friend. When it comes to Andy, there are no words that can properly describe who he was; only those that truly knew him understood his magic; his ability to lighten any mood. … Andy, I will miss our conversations about life and family. You always seemed to have all the answers. I love you with all my heart. Rest easy, brother, I’ve got it from here.”
CHP Capt. Eric Broneer also spoke to the gathering.
“He left a legacy of risking his life, helping complete strangers,” Broneer said. “In fact, he was on his way to help someone he had never met when this happened to him. He was doing his job. … He was the type of person that had a built-in desire to serve his community and help people in need.”
CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray also addressed the mourners.
“Andy’s dream was to continue in his family’s love for public service and to become a CHP officer …,” Ray said. “Andy accomplished his dream and graduated from the CHP academy. But unfortunately, that dream was taken away from him far too soon.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released a statement that said, in part: “Please pause with me as we honor the life and service of Officer Andy Ornelas. … We extend our deepest sympathies to Officer Ornelas’ entire family. Thank you for your valiant service in protection of the people of California, rest in eternal peace, Officer Ornelas.”
A memorial fund has been set up through the CAHP Credit Union. Donations may be made on the credit union’s website at https://cahpcu.org/OfficerAndyOrnelasMemorialFund; or by mailing a check to: Officer Andy Ornelas Memorial Fund, PO Box 276507 Sacramento, CA 95827.
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