Procession held for Gardena police officer killed in motorcycle crash

GARDENA, Calif. (KABC) -- A procession was held Tuesday afternoon in honor of a Gardena Police Department motorcycle officer who died after being struck by a car while on his way to work.

Dozens of police motorcycles and cruisers escorted the body of Officer Toshio Hirai, 34, from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance to the Los Angeles County coroner's office in Boyle Heights. Firefighters, law enforcement officers and civilians saluted from overpasses as the motorcade passed on the 110 Freeway below.

The fatal incident happened about 7:50 a.m. Nov. 14 when the officer's motorcycle and a vehicle collided at the intersection of Western Avenue and 238th Street in Harbor City, authorities said. Hirai died the following day at the hospital, and is survived by his wife and 2-year-old son.

"Toshio had a really awesome sense of humor, it just was contagious," Kristen Hirai said at a vigil on Friday. "He had terrible chewing habits that irked me, but what I would not give for him to be chewing here today. I am so thankful. I haven't been able to really reach out or respond to how much support I've been getting from all of you."

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Friends and fellow officers gathered Friday night to remember a father and Gardena police officer who died a day after being hit by a car while on his way to work.

The driver of the car remained at the scene after the crash and cooperated with investigators, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Neither alcohol nor drugs were believed to be factors, investigators said.

Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Nov. 30 at Green Hills Mortuary & Memorial Chapel, 27501 S. Western Ave., in Rancho Palos Verdes.

The Gardena officers union set up a fund to assist the Hirai family available at this link. Checks can also be made payable to the Gardena Police Officers' Association and mailed or brought to the Gardena Police Department at 1718 W 162nd Street, Gardena CA 90247.
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