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Seeking a memorial bridge for a fallen Arizona State Police Officer

Posted at 10:16 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 00:16:43-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Marissa Cruz-Long remembers her father fondly.

"Music was a big thing in my dad's life, he really loved it, he played guitar, he sang."

Juan Cruz was an Arizona State Police Officer.

In December 1998, he was at the scene of an accident on I-10 at Ruthrauff when a woman struck his patrol car, he died in the fire that followed, he was 48 years old.

"We always wanted to make sure dad had dinner and dad had a warm meal with him when he was out there<" Marissa said.

Her family honors his memory by serving police officers a meal once a year, every December, a way to bridge the gap between all the years that have passed since he died.

"It's just hard to drive by it and not look at the spot and know that that's where my dad lost his life."

Today, construction is the bridging the gap over I-10 at the very same place officer Cruz' life ended.

"I always say a prayer as I go through."

Cruz-Long said over a year ago, family friend Jim Sayre, came up with idea to name that bridge after her father.

"This is the greatest respect and the greatest honor that I think you can give to him," Cruz-Long said.

She said the honor would be theirs, her family's, to share his memory with the bridge and the people whose safety was his priority: the people of Arizona.

"To have it turn into something positive and something that we can look at and be proud of."

There's a way you can help make this happen.

"We're looking for support with signing our petition. We're looking for support reaching out to your local representatives and asking them to support this."