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Las Vegas man arrested in traffic death of California patrol officer

A California Highway Patrol officer was struck and killed Sunday when a car veered onto the shoulder of the freeway during a traffic stop in San Bernardino County, authorities said.

The incident happened about 3:40 a.m. when two officers stopped a vehicle for speeding on northbound I-15 in Barstow, Mario Lopez of the Highway Patrol said.

A 2009 Pontiac G6 traveling north clipped the right rear of the patrol car and struck trooper Justin McGrory.

He was airlifted to a hospital where he died of his injuries.

The driver of the Pontiac, 18-year-old Rafael Garcia of Las Vegas, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter.

Circumstances of the collision are still under investigation, Lopez said. Nobody else was hurt.

McGrory, 28, joined the Highway Patrol in 2007 and was assigned to the Barstow area office. He is survived by his wife, a 7-year-old daughter and two sons, ages 4 and 1.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed condolences Sunday at the death of McGrory.

"He was selfless and dedicated, and committed his life to protecting the safety of all Californians," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

"We extend our thoughts and prayers to Justin’s family, loved ones, and the entire Victorville community as they mourn the loss of a father, son and outstanding officer."

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