Thousands gathered Saturday to honor fallen California Highway Patrol Officer Lucas Chellew. Chellew, an eight year veteran of the CHP, was killed in a motorcycle crash while in pursuit of a vehicle on Feb. 22.
Mourners packed the large sanctuary of Adventure Christian Church, many in uniforms from dozens of different departments across the country. Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and state legislators were among those who gathered to honor Chellew’s memory.
Those who knew Officer Chellew personally and professionally described him as a good, kind man who loved his family and law enforcement.
“Lucas is not a person who will ever be forgotten or written over,” Officer Chellew’s sister, CHP Officer Hanna Chellew, said.
"He was a go-getter,” South Sacramento CHP Sgt. Sean Kent said. “He was a hard charger. He was one to never give up."
Many stories were told at the service illustrating Chellew’s exemplary character.
Chellew was always one to look out for others: his coworkers, his friends and family, and the public he served.
“He was a good man,” said Chaplain Mindi Russell.
Although he was good, he was certainly not a goody-goody.
Chellew had just enough sass to save him from that fate, his friends and family made clear.
Retired Sheriff John McGinness, who gave the eulogy, told a story of a youthful ‘scandal’ of Chellew’s in which he ‘borrowed’ liters of soda and a turkey with which to play a game of ‘turkey bowling.’ Prompting his dad to utter the ‘three-syllable refrain’ of ‘Luke, Luke, Luke...’
Hanna Chellew, spoke of the adored big brother who was both best friend and biggest tease. When they were both officers in different parts of Southern California and would from time to time cross paths, Luke was prone to greet her with rolled eyes or a rude hand gesture.
But it was all in fun.
“He had the best heart, but he didn’t want people to know,” she said. “He would hide it behind a silly smirk.”
His friends knew Chellew had their backs.
He would “be there when he was needed most, no questions asked,” she said.
Many at the service were moved to tears Saturday, including his sister, who like their father, also serves with the CHP.
"Lucas will always be my role model because he is now ageless," she said. "Every year that passes, Lucas will be a year older. And I will have another year to be better. To be more like him."
From Arizona to North Carolina to New Mexico, law enforcement of every color uniform came to pay their respects. Some wore a black band over their badge – a tribute of mourning and remembering a father, son, and brother lost in the line of duty.