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Santa Cruz Law Officers Carry the Torch for Special Olympics

Local California Highway Patrol officers ran a tough seven miles before handing off the torch to State Parks Rangers at Rio del Mar Beach

Singing the whole way to keep pace, , before passing it to an enthusiastic group of State Parks Police, ready to run to Capitola. Watsonville police officers had brough the torch north from the county line Wednesday morning.

Santa Cruz CHP Officer Nick Petrinovich has a personal connection with Special Olympics, according to Press Officer Sarah Jackson. His brother is an athlete with Special Olympics and his father was awarded posthumously at the state wide games for his lifetime efforts in coaching special olympics athletes.

He has run the torch every year since his assignment in Santa Cruz. 

The annual law enforcement run promotes and raises funds for the Special Olympics. Officers not only run, but they help officiate at the annual event.

The next World Summer Special Olympics will be held in 2015 in Los Angeles. The current run ends in Davis, where the yearly California competition is held June 22 with more than 900 athletes and volunteer coaches from all over Northern California.

In a touch of bad irony, there was a fender bender during the CHP section of the run by people who took their eyes off the road to watch the runners.

It was the first time there has been an accident on the CHP part of the run, Jackson said.

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