Hun­dreds honor deputy killed in crash

Of­fi­cer’s honor, com­mit­ment, de­ter­mi­na­tion re­mem­bered

The Modesto Bee - - Front Page - BY ROSALIO AHUMADA rahu­[email protected]­

Car­los Vasquez said he found it dif­fi­cult to speak in front of a large au­di­ence about the life of his brother, Stanis­laus County Sher­iff’s Deputy Antonio “Tony” Hi­nos­troza, who died re­cently in a car crash near River­bank.

Vasquez said it was tough to try to en­cap­su­late his brother’s en­tire life in a eu­logy. But he found a way, say­ing one of his brother’s great at­tributes was meet­ing ev­ery chal­lenge. It was re­flec­tive in Hi­nos­troza’s mil­i­tary ser­vice, his work in law en­force­ment and ded­i­ca­tion to his fam­ily and friends.

“In fact, the harder some­thing was, the more de­ter­mined he be­came,” Vasquez told the sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple who gath­ered in Modesto on Thurs­day to honor his brother’s life.

Law en­force­ment of­fi­cials from around the North­ern San Joaquin Val­ley at­tended the me­mo­rial ser­vice at The House on Cof­fee Road to pay their re­spects to Hi­nos­troza, 45, who on Nov. 25 was on his way to help deputies in­volved in a chase in River­bank be­fore he died in a wreck.

Hi­nos­troza’s patrol car hit a traf­fic-sig­nal pole at Ter­mi­nal Av­enue and Clari­bel Road shortly be­fore 10 p.m. The sus­pected drunk driver the deputies were chas­ing was cap­tured and is fac­ing pros­e­cu­tion.

Stanis­laus Sher­iff Adam Chris­tian­son said Hi­nos­troza was an ex­am­ple of the nu­mer­ous deputies and of­fi­cers in law en­force­ment through­out the coun­try who risk their lives to help oth­ers.

“Deputy Tony Hi­nos­troza served his coun­try, his com­mu­nity and the sher­iff’s of­fice with honor and dis­tinc­tion; dar­ing to do the hard things, com­mit­ted to his cho­sen pro­fes­sion and will­ing to go to dark and des­per­ate places no one else is will­ing to go,” Chris­tian­son told the au­di­ence at the me­mo­rial ser­vice.

Also in at­ten­dance were state At­tor­ney Gen­eral Xavier Be­cerra, Modesto Po­lice Chief Galen Car­roll, Stanis­laus County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Gen­eral Bir­git Fladager and mem­bers of the Stanis­laus Su­pe­rior Court bench.

Hi­nos­troza en­listed in the U.S. Marines in 1992 when he was 18 years old; serv­ing four

years in ac­tive duty and an­other four years as a re­serve. He served in a va­ri­ety of roles, in­clud­ing as a mem­ber of an an­titer­ror­ism re­ac­tionary force, se­cu­rity for Naval In­tel­li­gence and squad leader for spe­cial op­er­a­tions unit.

Af­ter his mil­i­tary ser­vice, Hi­nos­troza worked as an emer­gency dis­patcher be­fore he en­rolled in the po­lice acad­emy. Chris­tian­son said Hi­nos­troza first worked for the then Water­ford Po­lice Depart­ment be­fore be­ing hired by the Stanis­laus County Sher­iff’s Depart­ment; first as a re­serve in 1998 and then as a sworn-in full­time deputy in 1999.

In the Sher­iff’s Depart­ment, Hi­nos­troza worked as a patrol deputy, a mem­ber of the SWAT team, an in­ves­ti­ga­tor with the street gang unit, a mem­ber of se­cu­rity staff at the Stanis­laus Su­pe­rior Court and a K-9 han­dler with his ca­nine partner “Max.”

Sgt. Mario Moreno first met Hi­nos­troza while on the SWAT team. He said Hi­nos­troza loved his job, and worked hard to im­prove. He said Hi­nos­troza was known “to burn his own va­ca­tion time to pay his way through a train­ing course” if he knew it would build his skills.

His fel­low deputies had a va­ri­ety of nick­names for Hi­nos­troza, which in­cluded shorter ver­sions of his last name. But the nick­name that got the most re­ac­tion was “Hol­ly­wood.”

“Re­gard­less of what mood I was in, this would al­ways make me laugh,” Moreno told the au­di­ence in the Modesto church. “He al­ways knew how to make peo­ple laugh. I’ll miss that.”

His friends and fam­ily said Hi­nos­troza was loyal and an in­tense lis­tener, who could con­vey a lot with his ex­ag­ger­ated fa­cial ex­pres­sions. His brother smiled while re­mem­ber­ing how much Hi­nos­troza loved Mi­dori sour cock­tails, maybe too much for a grown man. Vasquez also re­mem­bered Hi­nos­troza’s big hugs, em­braces that felt like he would never let go.

Alameda County Sher­iff’s Deputy Joseph Del­gado bonded with Hi­nos­troza when they were both mem­bers of Stanis­laus sher­iff’s gang in­ves­ti­ga­tions unit. He said Hi­nos­troza was at the fore­front of strate­gic plan­ning, al­ways mak­ing sure each en­force­ment op­er­a­tion was suc­cess­ful and safe.

Hi­nos­troza’s col­leagues also re­mem­bered how he was al­ways well-pre­pared for a long train­ing ses­sion or a call for ser­vice that would re­quire a lot of wait­ing around. They said he would in­evitably pull out a bur­rito or pizza slice from a cargo pocket to munch on.

Del­gado said Hi­nos­troza al­ways set the mood with hip-hop mu­sic, such as Coo­lio’s “Gang­ster’s Par­adise,” in his car, when the in­ves­ti­ga­tors would head out Fri­day nights for gang sup­pres­sion.

“Gang­sters thought we were the coolest cops, be­cause we lis­tened to old-school and oldies and hip-hop,” Del­gado told the au­di­ence.

Hi­nos­troza re­ceived six awards from the Cal­i­for­nia High­way Patrol for his work as a deputy re­cov­er­ing stolen ve­hi­cles. Chris­tian­son said Hi­nos­troza re­cov­ered 22 stolen ve­hi­cles with auto theft sus­pects in­side, which are called “Rolling Stolens.” Those re­cov­er­ies re­sulted in 29 ar­rests over a two-year pe­riod. He also re­cov­ered 48 aban­doned stolen ve­hi­cles.

The sher­iff ac­knowl­edged in the au­di­ence Hi­nos­troza’s mother, Glo­ria, and his son, Michael, telling them “You will al­ways be part of our fam­ily.”

Chris­tian­son named the six Sher­iff’s Depart­ment of­fi­cials — in­clud­ing Hi­nos­troza — who have died in the line of duty since De­cem­ber 2011.

“Words alone can never ex­press the pain and an­guish over what’s hap­pened,” Chris­tian­son said about Hi­nos­troza’s death. “Time will once again heal our pain, and we’ll never, ever for­get Tony’s sac­ri­fice.”

IN FACT, THE HARDER SOME­THING WAS, THE MORE DE­TER­MINED HE BE­CAME. Car­los Vasquez, brother of Stanis­laus County Sher­iff ’s Deputy Antonio “Tony” Hi­nos­troza

JOAN BAR­NETT LEE [email protected]­

Mem­bers of the mil­i­tary fold the Amer­i­can flag at the burial ser­vice for Stanis­laus County Sher­iff’s Deputy Antonio “Tony” Hi­nos­troza at Lake­wood Me­mo­rial Park in Hugh­son on Thurs­day.

Bag­piper Ge­orge Har­crow leads the hearse to­ward the burial ser­vice for Stanis­laus County Sher­iff’s Deputy Antonio “Tony” Hi­nos­troza.

MARTY BICEK Stanis­laus County Sher­iff's Depa

Stanis­laus County Sher­iff’s Deputy Antonio “Tony” Hi­nos­troza’s patrol car hit a traf­fic-sig­nal pole at Ter­mi­nal Av­enue and Clari­bel Road as law en­force­ment of­fi­cers were chas­ing a sus­pected drunken driver.

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