Update: Coroner names LAPD training officer killed in Beverly Hills crash

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Update 6:03 p.m. The Los Angeles County coroner's office has identified the L.A. Police Department officer killed in a collision with a truck in Beverly Hills today as 40-year-old Nicholas Choung Lee.

Lee was a 16-year veteran of the LAPD, Commander Andrew Smith tells KPCC. He leaves behind a wife and two young daughters.

The California Highway Patrol officers doing the investigation said that there was some kind of mechanical malfunction with the truck that was coming down the hill as the officers were going up the hill, Smith said.

He said he doesn't know if Lee was wearing a seatbelt, but that LAPD Chief Charlie Beck is very enthusiastic about encouraging officers to wear seatbelts.

Lee was described by his coworkers as a "super nice guy" and a "community guy," Smith said, adding that "he was a good cop, and he's going to be missed."

The female trainee who was also in the crash is a probationary officer, Smith said, and she's been in the field for less than a year. She's out of the emergency rooms and with friends, though she's wearing a neck brace.

The driver of the truck was still in serious condition at the hospital, Smith said.

Lee was memorialized on social media:




Rob Strauss with KPCC staff

Previously: A 10-year veteran officer of the Los Angeles Police Department has been killed and a rookie officer critically injured when their patrol car collided with a large commercial truck at an intersection in Beverly Hills.

The accident occurred around 8 a.m. near Robert Lane and Loma Vista Drive and involved a patrol car from the Hollywood division and a large truck, according to LAPD spokesman Richard French.

As of late morning, police were not releasing names but said a male training officer was pronounced dead at the scene and a female trainee was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told reporters late Friday morning that the trainee was alert and in considerable pain from her injuries but will survive. This was her first year on the job and she was very shaken by the accident, but she did not require surgery, Beck said.

The driver of the truck was also taken to the hospital in critical condition, French said earlier.

The training officer was extremely well-regarded and a family man with children, Beck said. Police were still in the process of notifying family members.

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

The circumstances of the crash were under investigation, but Beck said preliminary findings indicated that the accident may have been caused by a brake failure on the part of the truck. The neighborhood was known by residents to have very steep streets, and it is a difficult area for truck drivers to drive in, Beck said.

Beck described the truck as a large tractor hauling a container normally used for trash and said it may have also had a Bobcat attached to the back.

The officers had been responding to a very high priority radio call, but it was unclear whether they had their lights and siren going when the accident occurred, Beck said.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League released the following statement in response to the news:

“With sad hearts we mourn the loss of the brave and courageous police officer who died this morning in a traffic collision,” LAPPL President Tyler Izen said.  “The officer’s death is a tragic loss that reminds us of the risks that law enforcement officers take every day to keep our community safe.  His service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.  On behalf of all LAPD officers, our hearts and condolences go out to his family and friends and the entire LAPD family who feels his loss so deeply.”  

“We also wish the female probationary officer who was injured a speedy recovery as she receives the appropriate medical treatment,” Izen said.  “We urge all Los Angeles residents to keep both families in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult period.”

KPCC Staff

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated how long Lee was employed with the LAPD. This story has been updated. 

With contributions from Rob Strauss

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