Off-Duty Los Angeles Fire Captain Killed in Collision with Caltrans Street Sweeper
Michael Shepard, 63, a Los Angeles County fire captain was killed, in a car accident in Santa Clarita on the 14 Freeway when his Jeep struck a Caltrans sweeper vehicle the morning of Jan. 24. According to a report in the LA Daily News, Shepard was not on duty when the collision occurred. He had last worked at Fire Station 132 in Santa Clarita, about eight miles from the crash site. He lived in Agua Dulce, officials said.
The crash occurred on the northbound side of the freeway just south of Sand Canyon Road. California Highway Patrol officials said the Jeep, driven by Shepard, and a Caltrans GMC 3500 with a dump truck bed crashed in the center median. The vehicle was one of several Caltrans vehicles and a CHP unit that were slowly driving in the median as part of a sweeper detail. Shepard was pronounced dead at the scene.
CHP officials said it will take a few weeks for the investigation to be completed. Detectives have not stated how fast Shepard was going. They said the caravan of vehicles in a Caltrans sweeping detail typically moves between zero and 10 mph. They move at regular freeway speeds on their way to an assignment.
The details usually have about five vehicles. The lead vehicle picks up large pieces of debris from crashes and is followed by the sweeper, which clears up dirt and smaller debris. Two other vehicles follow with crash guards to protect the sweeper and a CHP unit usually follows at the end. It is not clear which vehicle was involved in the crash with Shepard’s Jeep.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members of Michael Shepard and his co-workers at the fire department. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they mourn this tremendous loss.
Protecting Victims’ Rights
It is important that the investigation is completed in order to give a fuller picture of what happened and who was at fault. However, it is also important that victims and their families protect themselves and their rights by retaining the services of an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer. If any of the Caltrans vehicle operators were at fault, the agency may be held liable for the injuries and losses caused. An experienced injury lawyer will be able to advise victims’ families about pursuing their legal rights.