Family, friends, colleagues, and the community came together Thursday morning to celebrate and remember the life of Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Antonio “Tony” Hinostroza, who died in the line of duty on Nov. 25.
“Deputy Tony Hinostroza served his country, his community and the sheriff’s office with honor and distinction,” said Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson to a capacity crowd at The House church in Modesto.
Hinostroza, 45, was remembered as a man who believed in going the distance in everything he did in his professional and personal life.
“Tony wasn’t one who would shy away from something because it was too hard,” said Hinostroza’s brother Carlos Vasquez. “In fact, the harder it was, the more determined he became.”
Hinostroza’s path towards law enforcement began when he was 16 years old and he joined the Explorer program at the Ceres Police Department. Two years later, in 1992, he graduated from high school and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served four years in active duty and four years as a reserve. At the end of his military service, Hinostroza decided to pursue a career in law enforcement. He began working as a reserve police officer and an emergency dispatcher for the City of Waterford, and in 1999 he was hired as a deputy with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department. During his 19-year career with the sheriff’s department, Deputy Hinostroza served as a patrol deputy, K9 handler, gang detective, SWAT team member and field training officer.
“Nothing made that man happier than talking about his work,” Vasquez recounted. “His face would light up like it was Christmas.
“The thin blue line was where his heart was,” Vasquez said.
It was that dedication to duty and his fellow law enforcement members that saw Hinostroza rushing to help when a traffic enforcement turned into a vehicle pursuit.
Around 9:45 p.m. Nov. 25, Riverbank Police Services deputies were dispatched to the intersection of Oakdale Road and Patterson Road in Riverbank for a report of a driver of a silver Cadillac Escalade passed out behind the wheel. Deputies arrived and the driver of the Escalade sped off leading deputies on a pursuit. Deputies deployed spike strips on the Escalade which became disabled at the intersection of Fine Avenue and Cambridge Court in Modesto. The driver fled from the vehicle and began fighting with deputies forcing them to deploy a less-lethal bean bag to subdue him and take him into custody.
Hinostroza was in route to the pursuit call when his patrol vehicle crashed into a power pole at Terminal Avenue and Claribel Road. Emergency responders arrived at the scene quickly, but Hinostroza died of his injuries at the scene.