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Home / Deputy Brett Harris

Riverside County sheriff’s deputy dies after on-duty injury

Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy Brett Harris, who was assigned to the department’s Hemet station, has died after suffering catastrophic injuries in a vehicle collision Friday while responding to a call for service, Sheriff Chad Bianco said Sunday.

“With immense sadness and a heavy heart, I must report that the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office has lost another deputy in a line of duty death,” Bianco said.

“Deputy Harris suffered major injuries as a result of the crash, including a catastrophic brain injury,” the sheriff added.

Harris died at a hospital Saturday, according to the RCSD.

The crash occurred at about 2:15 a.m. Friday at the intersection of Esplanade Avenue and State Street in San Jacinto, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Officer Jason Montez said the 26-year-old deputy was traveling westbound on Esplanade in his marked sheriff’s SUV and entered the intersection at the same time as a Nissan Maxima going north on State.

“The two vehicles crashed in the intersection, which is controlled by traffic lights,” Montez said. “After the collision, the sheriff’s patrol vehicle crashed into a light pole.”

The SUV was hit on the driver’s side.

Montez did not specify which motorist was at fault, a determination that is expected to be made in the course of the CHP’s investigation.

Bianco said another patrolman, who reached the location prior to firefighters, attempted to “extract” the injured deputy and suffered a knee injury as a result. That deputy was also taken to a hospital for treatment and has since been sent home to recover.

According to Montez, the 54-year-old woman at the wheel of the Nissan, identified only as a Hemet resident, suffered minor injuries and was also hospitalized.

The CHP’s Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team is conducting the crash investigation. Under a long-standing sheriff’s department policy, the CHP is tasked with handling independent evaluations whenever sheriff’s vehicles are involved in wrecks.

“In a final act of Service Above Self, it was Deputy Harris’ wish to donate his organs so that others may live. The Harris family is currently working with the hospital to ensure his wishes are honored,” Bianco said Sunday.

Harris leaves behind a wife, mother and father, twin sister and a brother.

A procession in honor of Deputy Harris was pending due to the organ donation process, according to the RCSD.

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