Los Angeles Police Officer Released From Hospital Following Fatal Crash

A Los Angeles police officer was released from the hospital Saturday after a large truck slammed into her police car. The officer, so far only identified as Stephanie, was released Saturday following the crash which took place Friday morning.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Stephanie was originally listed in critical condition Friday following the accident while her partner, Nicholas Choung Lee, 40, was pronounced dead at the scene. The officers reportedly were responding to a call Friday morning when their car was struck by a truck.

“The collision left the cruiser mangled, and its top had to be pried off to remove the trapped officers inside. The truck, which had been carrying a dumpster and a Bobcat construction loader, overturned.”

The driver of the truck was taken to a local hospital and is expected to survive, though the condition of the two officers was unknown at first. Once responders were able to get to the two officers inside the mangled police car, Officer Lee was pronounced dead at the scene while Stephanie was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

“The police car is almost unrecognizable even as a vehicle, let alone a police car,” said Los Angeles Police Department Comander Andrew Smith. “It’s a miracle that anyone survived.”

The officer that died at the scene had been with the department since 1998, while Stephanie was a rookie only three months out of the academy. “Nick was a great cop. His hard work, dedication and leadership helped mold young police officers into law enforcement professionals,” Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said to The Washington Post.

As his body was pulled from the wreckage and draped in an American flag, Los Angeles police officers and responders saluted to their fallen comrade. At the coroner’s office, Lee’s body again passed through lines of saluting colleagues.

Stephanie reportedly suffers from pain and has facial bruises as a result of the collision, but she was deemed well enough to be released from the hospital Saturday night. While nobody had remarked on the extent of the officer’s injuries, Beck did say that “she is alert, in considerable pain but didn’t require surgery. She has a tremendous heart. She is determined to recover from her injuries.”

Police investigators are still unsure what exactly caused the accident though they are suggesting that there may have been a problem with the truck’s breaks. The Los Angeles police department is working alongside the California Highway Patrol during this investigation.

[Image via Shutterstock/Lonely Walker]