Nicholas Choung Lee, 40, a veteran Los Angeles police officer was killed and two others, including his rookie partner, were critically injured in a truck accident when their patrol car collided with a big rig on a Beverly Hills street. According to an Associated Press news report, the fatal truck accident occurred the morning of March 7, 2014.
Lee was training a female rookie officer who was only three months out of the police academy when their cruiser collided with a truck hauling a trash container and carrying a Bobcat loader down a steep roadway – at Robert Lane and Loma Vista Drive. The patrol car was torn apart in the crash. Police say the truck may have lost its brakes on the hill. The driver of the cruiser and the rookie officer were both injured, but are expected to survive.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members, friends and co-workers of Nicholas Choung Lee for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Los Angeles Crash Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 200 fatalities and 24,320 injuries due to car accidents in the city Los Angeles. Countywide, 513 people were killed and 50,476 were injured due to car accidents during the same year.
What Caused This Fatal Crash?
Based on this news report, it appears that the truck lost its brakes coming down the hill, hurtled out of control and slammed into the police cruiser. There are several questions here. Who owned the commercial truck? When it was it last maintained or serviced? Did the brakes need replacing? Did the trucking company know that the brakes needed to be replaced? Did the brakes fail because of defective parts?
Preserving Evidence and Liability
In such cases, it is possible for an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer to demand that all evidence including the truck be preserved for a thorough inspection. A knowledgeable lawyer will also ask to see truck maintenance logs every company is required to keep, under federal law. It is important to request and preserve these critical pieces of evidence in a timely manner before they get misplaced or destroyed.
If the accident occurred due to brake failure, the trucking company can be held liable for the injuries and losses. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Family members of the deceased victim can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation as well.