Senators Fuller and Vidak Pay Tribute to Fallen Heroes

Thursday, February 18, 2016

SACRAMENTO – Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) and Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) paid tribute during today’s Senate Floor session to two fallen heroes who were recently killed in the line of duty.

Tulare County Sheriff’s deputy 52-year-old Scott Ballantyne and 45-year-old military veteran pilot James Chavez were tragically killed on February 10th when their single-engine plane crashed into a mountain near Porterville. Both men were assisting in the arrest of a suspect who had brandished a weapon when their plane crashed.

Ballantyne proudly wore the badge of the Tulare County Sheriff’s department for nearly 26 years. In 2014, Chavez joined the sheriff’s department as a pilot. Prior to being hired by the department, Chavez served in the California Army Reserve National Guard as a Black Hawk pilot.  

“My thoughts and prayers are with their families, and with all of the men and women who protect our communities. Both men were highly respected by their peers and committed to public service. Their sacrifice reminds us of the dangers that peace officers and first responders face every day,” said Senator Fuller.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and co-workers of Deputy Ballantyne and Mr. Chavez. This is a tragic accident that took the life of two fine men who were protecting our communities,” said Senator Vidak.

Videos for both tributes:

Senator Fuller’s tribute:

Senator Vidak’s tribute: