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Funeral honors SDPD Detectives killed in wrong-way freeway crash

The late-morning memorial at a Rancho Bernardo church honored the lives of Escondido residents Ryan Park, 32, and Jamie Huntley-Park, 33.

SAN DIEGO — Grieving family members and law enforcement colleagues gathered Tuesday to bid farewell to a married couple who rose through the ranks of the San Diego Police Department to the post of detective together before losing their lives in a head-on freeway crash near the U.S.-Mexico border.

The late-morning memorial at a 4S Ranch church honored the lives of Escondido residents Ryan Park, 32, and Jamie Huntley-Park, 33, who were killed when a car heading north on the southbound side of Interstate 5 in San Ysidro crashed into the unmarked city-owned vehicle they were in shortly before 10:30 a.m. on June 4.

"Ever since (the accident) ... the outpouring of support has just been tremendous," SDPD Chief David Nisleit told the mourners. "To Jaime and Ryan, you will be sorely missed but never forgotten. Rest in peace my friends. We'll take it from here."

The fiery collision also killed the errant driver, 58-year-old Sandra Daniels of Ramona. It was unclear how and why Daniels wound up on the wrong side of the freeway near Dairy Mart Road, traveling against traffic at speeds as fast as 90 mph, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Park and Huntley-Park -- who were not on duty on the day of the deadly accident, but were following up on cases they were working on -- had been married since 2016, having met while attending police academy four years earlier. They were hired at the same time in April 2012 and both earned the rank of detective in July 2018.

Huntley-Park, whose most recent assignment was in SDPD Southern Division investigations, grew up in La Jolla playing hockey, her father's favorite sport.

"I still find this weird that a SoCal kid in La Jolla plays hockey. But you know what -- she was really good," Nisleit said.

Before she joined the police force, Huntley-Park played Division III hockey on a scholarship at Elmira College, a private college in Elmira, New York.

Nisleit said she was known as an enforcer on the ice who set the college's record for penalty minutes in a season, to her father's delight.

After her playing days, Huntley-Park became a hockey coach and referee, working numerous events in the latter role for USA Hockey, including an Olympic qualifier in Japan in 2017, two women's world championships and two Four Nations Cup tournaments.

Before joining the SDPD, Park -- a UCLA graduate who grew up in Los Angeles -- conducted archeological field research in Cusco, Peru, the police chief told the gathering.

Park met Nisleit in 2013, as part of the SDPD's team for the Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay, a 120-mile annual run from the Southern California to Nevada.

Park's colleagues in the SDPD Homicide Unit who spoke at the funeral described him as a quirky, extremely funny co-worker whose endearing fondness for wisecracks and teasing was amply balanced by his dedication and a rare talent for cracking criminal cases.

In 2013 and 2014, Nisleit was Park's commanding officer in the SDPD Western Division and ran with him after work on several occasions.

"Ryan was a very gifted runner, but he was also a goofy runner," Nisleit said. "(I) don't mean any harm or foul by that, but if there was a puddle, Ryan would jump in it."

SDPD homicide Detective Steven Choy, who went through police academy with the couple and was one of Park's roommates at the time, told the gathering that "Ryan and Jamie represented the very best of us."

"You both will be missed tremendously by your SDPD family," he said.

Following the funeral service, the large contingent of personnel from the San Diego Police Department and other agencies in attendance gathered outside the church and stood at attention, saluting, as officers in formal dress uniforms wheeled the couple's American flag-draped double casket to a waiting hearse, accompanied by a drum-and-bagpipe corps.

A law enforcement procession and private internment ceremony were slated to follow the memorial.

WATCH: SDPD Detectives in wrong-way freeway crash laid to rest Tuesday

WATCH RELATED: San Diego police detective's brother talks about death of Ryan Park and wife Jamie (June 2021)

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