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SJ correctional officer killed in accident after end of his shift
deputy dies

A San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department correctional officer was killed Sunday night in a two-vehicle accident on Matthews Road just down the street from where he had finished his shift at the San Joaquin County Jail.

According to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, Correctional Sergeant Cesar Fuentes was riding his Kawasaki motorcycle down Matthews Road towards I-5 at around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday when he approached a Ford pickup truck that was on the south shoulder of the road.

Without warning the pickup truck made a U-turn and Fuentes collided with the side of the vehicle. He was taken to a nearby hospital – San Joaquin General Hospital is also located along Matthews Road – and he later succumbed to his injuries.

Fuentes was a six-year veteran of the San Joaquin County Sherriff’s Office and has recently been promoted to the position of correctional sergeant. He served on the custody emergency response team for the past five years and spent 12 years in the United States Marine Corps – from 2006 to 2018.

He had three tours of duty during his military tenure and was honorably discharged at the rank of sergeant.

“This is an extremely painful time for the Sheriff’s Office family,” a statement from Sheriff Pat Withrow released on Monday said. “Peer support teams and the Sherriff’s Office Chaplain have been actively supporting staff and friends.”

The pickup driver – identified by the California Highway Patrol as 60-year-old Roger DeLaCruz – was not hurt in the collision.

Rows of law enforcement vehicles were spotted by motorists Sunday night lined up along the frontage road along I-5 near the hospital after word began to circulate in first responder circles that Fuentes had died as a result of his injuries.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, those officers helped form a processional while Fuentes’ remains were transported away from the hospital.

“The Sheriff’s Office Family extends our gratitude to the outside agencies who participated in the processional from the hospital to the Forensic Pathology Facility,” the statement read. “Thank you for bringing our brother home, where we can keep watch over him until he is laid down for eternal rest.”

Word of the accident began to circulate around social media Monday morning, and the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office released two statements about what happened – one an official statement that detailed Fuentes’ service record and a recounting of what happened, and a second, heartfelt post that included photos of him in his Sherriff’s Office and Marine Corps dress uniforms.

“Your passing is a tremendous loss to our Office and you will never be forgotten,” a second statement with several photos of Fuentes in uniform and in his Marine Dress Blues read. “Rest in Peace brother; we’ve got it from here.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.