A Los Angeles Police Department officer injured in a fatal collision was recovering at a local hospital Saturday and was expected to be released soon, authorities said.
The rookie female officer – identified only as Stephanie — was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Friday morning after the patrol car she was in collided with a big rig in Beverly Hills at the intersection of Loma Vista Drive and Robert Lane (map), according to the Beverly Hills Fire Department.
As of Saturday morning, she was listed in stable condition, an LAPD spokesman said.
“She is doing well. I just spoke with her, she is obviously up and around, she’s talking, she’s walking around well and she looks well,” Officer Erik Helmsetter of the LAPD’s Hollywood Division said.
“What she specifically wanted me to tell everyone was ‘thank you,’ but she wants the focus to be on Officer Lee, her partner, and for everyone to send their blessings, their thoughts and their prayers to his family,” Helmsetter added.
Officer Nicholas Choung Lee, 40, of the Hollywood Division, was killed in the collision.
Lee received more than 70 commendations and had been with the department for 16 years, serving in Van Nuys, Wilshire and Hollywood areas, the LAPD said.
He was survived by a wife and two daughters.
“This is a very sad day. We feel for his family. I feel for Hollywood Division, where he was so well-liked,” police Chief Charlie Beck said at a news conference.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s office also released a statement on Lee’s death.
“Anne and I were saddened to learn of the death of Officer Lee, who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to his community. We extend our sympathies to Officer Lee’s friends, family and colleagues as they mourn this tragic loss,” Brown said in the statement.
The officers were responding to a “call of unknown trouble” when the crash occurred, Beck said.
A preliminary investigation showed that the truck’s brakes may have failed, he said.
Lee died at the scene. The male truck driver was in serious condition, while the female officer suffered a concussion and bumps and bruises, authorities said.
Seeing the wreckage, officers said it was a miracle anyone survived.
The cause of the crash was under investigation by the Beverly Hills Police Department and Fire Department, the LAPD and the California Highway Patrol.
The truck was traveling southbound on Loma Vista, a steep road, while the patrol car was traveling northbound, according to CHP Officer Leland Tang.
Both vehicles would be towed back to a CHP yard for “full forensic mechanical analysis,” Tang said.
Capitol flags would be flown at half-staff in Lee’s honor, Brown said in the statement.