Off-Duty L.A. County Sheriff's Detective Fatally Struck by Vehicle After Helping Pedestrian in Valley Village

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An off-duty Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detective died after being struck by a vehicle in Valley Village on Sunday, authorities said.

Detective Amber Joy Leist, a 41-year-old, 12-year veteran of the department assigned to the West Hollywood station, died following the collision, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Detective Amber Joy Leist, pictured in an undated photo provided by the sheriff's department.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Detective Amber Joy Leist, pictured in an undated photo provided by the sheriff’s department.

The incident took place about 11:05 a.m. at Riverside Drive and Whitsett Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

She was driving through the area when she noticed two pedestrians crossing the street in a crosswalk, the sheriff said. One of the pedestrians, a senior citizen, fell to the ground.

Leist got out of her car to help the pedestrian get safely to the sidewalk.

“While she was returning to her vehicle, she was struck by a vehicle traveling eastbound on Riverside Drive when the light had turned green,” Villanueva said.

The badly injured detective was taken to a hospital. “It’s unfortunate. God had a better plan for her and she was called home,” the sheriff said.

The involved driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators, officials said. The collision was being treated as an an accident as the investigation continued.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department released this photo of Detective Amber Joy Leist on Jan. 12, 2020.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released this photo of Detective Amber Joy Leist on Jan. 12, 2020.

“She was an outstanding detective who would lead by example, and she definitely led by example through her act of kindness, and we consider this an on-duty death,” according to Villanueva said.

She is survived by a 17-year-old son and a 20-year-old son who is currently serving in the U.S. Navy.

Leist started her career working in the North County Correctional Facility. She then served at the Lancaster station before transferring to West Hollywood, where she worked for the past five years.

Her assignments included patrol and school resource officer before she attained the rank of detective.

Fellow law enforcement officers lined the route of a procession as the detective’s body was escorted from Cedar Sinai Hospital to the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner.

Correction: An early version of this story incorrectly described the time of the collision. The article has been updated.

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