An LAPD officer was killed Saturday when an SUV broadsided his patrol car in the Harbor Area and then sped off.
The crash killed officer Roberto Sanchez, a six-year veteran of the department.
Police said the collision was so violent that Sanchez’s partner had to use his personal cell phone to call for help because the police radio was destroyed.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Sanchez and his partner were best friends, and that the unnamed partner is in the hospital with several injuries including a broken jaw.
The LAPD officer killed on Saturday is now the third killed in the line of duty in the last three months. In March, officer Nicholas Choung Lee died in a car crash involving a dump truck, and in April motorcycle officer Chris Cortijo was killed in a collision with a driver believed to have been under the influence of cocaine.
Details of Saturday’s accident are still hazy, but police believe the officers were following another car when both vehicles made a U-turn. At that point they believe the SUV broadsided the patrol car.
“The SUV hit the police vehicle – we’re calling it a T-bone-type accident – and it caved in the driver’s side of the vehicle, and that’s why the driver has the very serious injuries,” Lt. John Pasquariello said.
The driver fled the scene, but police later detained someone referred to as a “person of interest.” They did not give any more details or say if the person was considered a suspect.
The LAPD officer was hailed as a hero both by the police union and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti.