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Mechanical problem may have caused fatal LAPD auto crash

Although truck accidents are less frequent than accidents involving other vehicles, they are often more deadly. A recent example is the collision between a Los Angeles Police Department patrol unit and a semitrailer in Beverly Hills that killed a 16-year veteran officer and left his partner, a recent police academy graduate, with a concussion.

The veteran officer and his female partner were responding to an unknown emergency call when the auto crash occurred. The patrol car was traveling north and uphill on Loma Vista Drive; a truck carrying a dumpster and a small tractor was traveling downhill when it crossed into the path of the LAPD unit.

The cruiser was extensively damaged on the driver's side. Responders extricated both officers but determined that the veteran officer was already dead. The newer officer was taken to a hospital for treatment and then was released. The truck driver was critically injured and had to be removed from his overturned truck.

Mechanical failure may have caused the truck to lose control. Investigators are examining the truck's brakes for answers.

LAPD officers and civilian employees paid tribute to the deceased officer by lining the street outside the Hollywood Station as the vehicle carrying his body passed by. Flags across Los Angeles were ordered lowered to half-staff.

Truck accidents can easily injure or kill other motorists. An accidental death such as this is not only emotionally shattering for family members but also can result in substantial medical expenses, funeral costs and lost wages.

If a fatal truck accident results from negligence, a victim's family can file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation. A trucking company can also be held liable if it has failed to hire qualified drivers or has not followed safety standards and ensured that its trucks have undergone regular maintenance and repair.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "LAPD patrol car 'unrecognizable' after fatal crash with truck," Ruben Vives, March 7, 2014

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