California Highway Patrol officer Sean Nava was killed in the line of duty on October 28, 2000 after he was struck by a vehicle operated by a drunk driver while standing on the side of the highway.

The accident occurred on Interstate 5 near Carlsbad, California. Christopher P. Merrick and James R. Smith Jr., both 22, had just finished a night of drinking in Tijuana, Mexico when they struck Nava. Merrick immediately fled the scene. A neighbor overheard an argument between Merrick and his Smith about the accident and called the police.

Nava had been a member of the CHP Oceanside Precinct for 11 years. He had served in the Army where he served as a military police officer in Germany, attaining the rank of sergeant. Nava had received a Spirit of Courage award from the San Diego Burn Institute in June 1999 for saving a driver trapped in a burning vehicle.

Nava had recently graduated from the University of Phoenix.

Nava is survived by his wife Melanie Nava, a seven year-old daughter Alexandria Nava and a four year-old son Patrick Nava. He was 33.

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