Officer removing a ladder from I-10 struck and killed
Twenty-seven-year-old officer Angel Garcia stopped his car in the middle of the interstate with his emergency lights on before he was struck and killed.
"The incident began around 6:59 this morning," said Mike Baranyay, EPPD spokesperson. "That's when Garcia responded to a call of a traffic hazard, a ladder that was in the middle of the Interstate 10 near Hawkins," according to Baranyay. Garcia set out to find the ladder and remove it from the freeway before it caused a crash.
"The officer located the ladder in the roadway, exited his vehicle with his emergency equipment the lights on in the vehicle," said Baranyay. But those emergency lights weren't enough to keep officer Garcia safe from the cars speeding toward him.
Baranyay tells ABC-7, "At that point a chain reaction collision involving a total of 4 vehicles."
Officer Garcia was struck in the crash.
Emergency responders arrived and began CPR on the officer.
Garcia along with two other people were transported to the hospital.
That's where the policeman died, at Del Sol Medical Center, a short time later.
The two other people taken to the hospital survived with non-life-threatening injuries.
The policeman was a newcomer to the force, with less than a year under his belt.
"Officer Garcia recently graduated in March from our police academy and had served 9 months with our department," said Baranyay.
According to the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial fund, the number of officers struck by vehicles nationally has gone down, from 14 in 2002 to 11 in 2011.
In an effort to further decrease the number of officers killed by traffic, a law was passed in September of 2011.
It's called the "slow down" or "move over" law which requires drivers to decrease their speed to 20 miles below the speed limit or vacate the lane when a law enforcement or emergency vehicle has its lights activated.
"The officers respond to these calls several times a day not only in our city but through out the nation throughout the world, traffic hazards are calls that we receive frequently," said Baranyay.
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