Crime & Justice

Deputy didn't have emergency lights or siren on during crash that killed 2

File photo by Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku via Flickr Creative Commons

Witnesses told reporters at the scene of an accident that killed two in a collision with a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department squad car that the deputy's patrol car had no emergency lights or sirens operating at the time of the crash, which happened just before sunset.

KPCC confirmed this with the California Highway Patrol, who said that, depending on the level of response, deputies don't always have their lights or sirens on. It remains unclear what kind of call the deputy was responding to.

The father of a 20-year-old Van Nuys woman who was killed, along with her 31-year-old boyfriend, when the SUV they were in collided with the squad car, stood near the wreckage and said "it's not OK" to investigators, it was reported Sunday.

Several television stations reported that residents had complained about speeding sheriff's deputies on East Avenue R at 17th Street East in Palmdale before the crash.

That's where a squad car crashed into the SUV at 4:27 p.m. Saturday, according to Inspector Scott Miller of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The California Highway Patrol was investigating the crash, and witness reports that the deputy was rushing towards a priority call at high speed.

"It's not OK. It's not OK," the father of Sara Paynter, who was killed in the crash, yelled towards investigators, as his daughter was dead on the pavement.

Paynter and her boyfriend, Robert Delgadillo of Palmdale, were identified by the Los Angeles coroner's office Sunday.

The two were in the back seat of a 1994 Ford Explorer that apparently had stopped at a sign on 17th Street East and then pulled onto Avenue R, a four- lane street, according to the CHP.

The deputy, driving a 2010 Ford Crown Victoria, was eastbound on Avenue R and his unit broad-sided the northbound Explorer, the CHP said.

The CHP did not yet have an estimate of the deputy's speed.

The impact of the crash caused the SUV, driven by a 22-year-old man, to spin in a clockwise motion, ejecting Paynter and Delgadillo onto the roadway, the CHP reported. Emergency crews pronounced both dead at the scene.

Neither deceased victim used a seatbelt, the CHP confirmed to KPCC, but the SUV driver and another passenger, a 19-year-old man, did, according to the CHP.

Both men suffered only minor injuries and refused medical attention, according to the CHP.

Paramedics rushed the 36-year-old sheriff's deputy to Antelope Valley Hospital with moderate injuries. His name was not released.

When contacted by KPCC, CHP would not comment any further on details of the investigation.