Off-Duty L.A. County Fire Captain Killed in Collision With Caltrans Truck on 14 Freeway in Santa Clarita

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An off-duty Los Angeles County Fire Department Captain died Wednesday after his Jeep SUV rear-ended a Caltrans truck that was part of a street-sweeping detail on the 14 Freeway in Santa Clarita, authorities said.

The crash took place about 11:20 a.m. on the northbound 14 Freeway, just south of Sand Canyon Road, California Highway Patrol Officer Josh Greengard said in a written statement.

The victim was identified as Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Michael Shepard, according to the agency. He worked at Fire Station 132, just over 8 miles north of the crash scene along Sand Canyon Road.

A flag outside the station was lowered to half-staff Wednesday night in Shepard's honor.

A Caltrans worker was driving a GMC 3500 pickup truck fitted with a dump truck bed northbound within the center median at the time of the crash, he said.

"Initial information indicated the Jeep struck the rear of the Caltrans vehicle in the vicinity of the center median/HOV lane," Greengard said.

L.A. County firefighters responded to the crash "to find their brother firefighter trapped in his vehicle, pulseless and not breathing," fire officials said in a written statement.

"Extrication was difficult and extensive," according to the statement. "Reluctantly," the firefighters declared Shepard dead at the scene.

The driver of the Caltrans truck was taken to a hospital with injuries described as "moderate," according to Greengard.

Officials issued a Sig Alert for the carpool and left-hand lanes of the northbound freeway as the investigation continued Wednesday afternoon.

The closure remain in effect through about 7:30 p.m., according to the CHP.

The crash is being investigated by the CHP's Newhall-area office.

The captain's family had been notified, as well as and the Fire Department's Memorial Management Team and peer counselors, officials said.

The CHP described the captain as a resident of Agua Dulce.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Captain Shepard's family and fellow firefighters," the statement said.

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