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.