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LAPD officer killed in Beverly Hills truck collision

One LAPD officer was killed and another officer was injured in a crash involving a large truck in Beverly Hills Friday.
March 7, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
A veteran LAPD officer was killed and his rookie partner was critically injured Friday morning when their police cruiser collided with a big rig in Beverly Hills.

The crash occurred at approximately 8 a.m. at the intersection of Loma Vista Drive and Robert Lane. Authorities said the truck, which was hauling a trash container, was traveling downhill on Loma Vista Drive as the cruiser was traveling uphill. Early reports indicate that the truck driver may have lost control and then hit the cruiser. The truck may have had some kind of mechanical failure, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.

The injured officer and the driver of the truck were taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Both are expected to survive their injuries, according to Beck.

According to LAPD Commander Andrew Smith, the officers were responding to a call of unknown trouble when the crash happened. He said they were driving to the location in Los Angeles, but they chose a route that took them just inside the edge of Beverly Hills. It was not immediately known if the cruiser's lights and sirens were on.

A sign posted at the entrance of Loma Vista Drive reads: "Vehicles over 3 tons prohibited." It was unclear why the large truck was on the road.

The Beverly Hills Police Department and the California Highway Patrol are investigating the crash.

The deceased officer was identified as 40-year-old Nicholas Choung Lee. His body was removed from the crash site around 12:30 p.m. Officers lined the street as the gurney, covered with an American flag, was moved to a coroner's van. The van was then escorted out of the area by a police procession.

Both officers were assigned to the Hollywood Division. Beck said Lee was with the department for more than a decade and is "extremely well regarded." At the time of the crash, the officer was training his rookie partner, a woman out of the police academy for about three months. She could be released from the hospital Saturday.

"This tragedy reminds us of the selflessness of our LAPD officers who put their lives on the line everyday to protect us," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. "Amy's and my thoughts and condolences are with the families and all of their LAPD brothers and sisters today."

Mayor Garcetti said he personally worked with Lee several times.

"Nick embodied everything that LAPD's about: Courage, commitment, community," said Garcetti. "When being with his family, it was just heartbreaking today."

Lee is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 6 and 10.


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