On the evening of August 21, Sacramento police officer Harminder Grewal told his mother he had to go to work at 3am. She asked what food he would like to carry. “Sandwich,” Harminder replied, since she had to go to work before him, at 10pm. She made a roasted flax-seed sandwich with peanut butter and jelly and packed it along with two apples.
Officer Grewal would never return, and his mother, Jaswinder Kaur, doesn’t know if her son ate that sandwich.
Harminder Grewal died of injuries sustained in a traffic collision.
Jaswinder, who works at Diamond Foods in Stockton, California, recounted her last conversation with her son to indica News. Her voice was steady, but at times she would control her tears as she shared her 27-year-old son’s stories from childhood to the last day she saw him in the hospital surrounded by dozens of police officers.
According to the report sent to indica News by officer Jim Young, Public Information South Sacramento Area, the traffic collision occurred at approximately 4:35am on August 22. The Sacramento California High Patrol Dispatch Center received a call of a two-vehicle head-on collision which occurred on northbound SR-99, just north of Dillard Road.
Officers have determined that a Dodge Ram pick-up was traveling at an unknown rate of speed on southbound SR-99 when it collided with the center median. The Dodge broke through the center median concrete barrier and entered the northbound lanes where it collided head-on with a Galt Police
Department patrol vehicle with two officers inside, which was traveling in the #1 lane of northbound SR-99 at a speed of 70 mph, per witnesses at the scene.
As a result of the collision, the driver of the Dodge sustained fatal injuries and was declared deceased at the scene. Two passengers in the Dodge sustained moderate injuries and were transported to local hospitals. Both Galt Police Department officers had to be extricated from the patrol vehicle and were transported to UC Davis Medical Center with major injuries.
Harminder Grewal’s uncle Inder Paul alleged that the driver of the Dodge was drunk and was coming back from a party drunk. Asked about it, Officer Young told indica News: “The only information I have regarding the driver of the Dodge is that his name is Manjot Thind.”
According to Inder Paul, Thind was a resident of Manteca in California. Paul said somebody complained to the highway patrol about a Dodge driver driving recklessly and the other CHP officers were coming towards him.
Paul said Harminder Grewal came to the United States when he was 18 and went to San Joaquin Delta College and wanted to be a police officer. He was very hard working, the uncle said.
Harminder’s elder brother Jasdeep, who works for Caltrans, told indica News that Harminder had only one goal since childhood — to be a police officer.
“The first toy he bought was a pistol, and at the first fancy dress competition he dressed up as a police officer. He was in Kindergarten or 1st grade…,” Jasdeep said.
Kaur said her son always wanted to come to the US. “He would say, ‘My dream was to be an American police officer. I’ll feel proud if I die on duty’.
“Mera beta sant siopahi thha [my son was a warrior saint],” she said.
“His father and me used to tell him your job is risky why not buy a bulletproof jacket, but he would smile and ignore,” Jaswinder said. “He was taking motorcycle training and I was a little nervous. I told him, the motorbike is risky and car is safer.”
She said she had not given up hope even when she saw him in the hospital in a critical condition. But he had been stuck for more than an hour in the mangled car. After three days, his body stopped responding to the treatment.
Paul Sandhu, vice mayor City of Galt, told indica News: “This is very strange, the way accident happened. It was 4’o clock in the morning and there was no traffic. It’s very sad, he was a very good officer and was appointed at the end of 2018.”
To condole Harminder’s death, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff, and stated: “Jennifer and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Officer Grewal, a devoted public servant who worked selflessly to protect his community. Our thoughts are also with the fellow officer who was seriously injured and is recovering.”