LAKEWOOD, California (KABC) — A Los Angeles County sheriff’s motorcycle deputy was killed Thursday morning in a traffic collision in Lakewood, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced.
In a tweet, Villanueva said he was “saddened” to share news of the fatal crash, which occurred near Del Amo and Paramount boulevards.
Deputy Thomas J. Albanese leaves behind a wife and two sons, ages 7 and 11. He was a Marine veteran who served four tours of duty in Iraq.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Albanese joined the department in 2013 and became a motorcycle officer last year.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Fire Department said firefighter-paramedics responded to the incident about 9 a.m. News video from AIR7 HD showed the wreckage of the deputy’s motorcycle after it collided with the front end of a Mercedes-Benz sedan, scattering debris across the intersection.
Villanueva said Albanese was starting to follow another vehicle to make a traffic stop as he entered the intersection and was struck by the Mercedes. The exact cause of the collision and whether any charges could be filed remain under investigation, he said.
Villanueva said Albanese was not chasing the other vehicle but was preparing to make a stop.
A eyewitness at the scene told ABC7 the other vehicle he was following appeared to be a Dodge Charger.
“I went to the car wash to grab a blanket, because people were just taking photos and videos of the body,” said the witness, who gave his name only as Vince.
The deputy’s body, on a center median in the street, was later covered with an American flag and a privacy canopy was set up above it.
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