The Los Angeles Police Department is in mourning over the loss of yet another officer this year. On Saturday, May 3, 2014, LAPD officer, Roberto Sanchez was killed in a hit and run accident.
According to sources, Sanchez and his partner were on patrol around 3:55 a.m. on Saturday morning when they noticed a vehicle speeding. The officers had made a U-turn so they could pursue the vehicle when they were T-boned by an SUV near the intersection of Anaheim Street and Senator Avenue.
LAPD officer Sanchez was 32 years old and had been with the department for six years. His partner survived the crash and was rushed to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition; but doctors are optimistic that he will pull through.
Sanchez’s passing marks the third such tragedy for the LAPD this year. In March, an officer was involved in a crash with a truck and was killed. Then in April, a drunk driver hit and killed one of their motorcycle officers.
The LAPD is trying to make sense of the events that led up to the hit and run crash that killed officer Roberto Sanchez. Chief Charlie Beck says there are numerous questions that remain unanswered at this time. He went on to say there were only two people who really knew what had taken place and one of them was dead and the other one was severely injured.
Officers are trying to recreate what happened in the wee hours of Saturday morning based on the account given by the injured LAPD officer and the positions of both the patrol car and the SUV. They believe Sanchez and his partner were in hot pursuit of a white Camaro that was traveling east on Anaheim street at a high rate of speed.
It is believed that both the Camaro and the officers made a U-turn, and then the third vehicle, a Chevy Tahoe SUV that was also travelling east on Anaheim, rammed into the driver’s side of the patrol car as Sanchez and his partner tried to complete the U-turn. The impact of the crash was so severe that the patrol car’s radio was no longer operable and the surviving officer had to use his cell phone to put in a call for help. It is unclear, at this point, if the officers had their lights and sirens on during the chase.
Sources say the driver of the Chevy Tahoe fled the accident site on foot. However, approximately one mile from the scene, officers were able to apprehend a possible suspect. While the LAPD has not made any arrests in the case to date, they are questioning the man in an effort to find out if he had any involvement in the incident.
Upon learning about the hit and run accident that killed LAPD officer Roberto Sanchez, Tyler Izen, President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League issued a statement saying the LAPD family’s hearts were once again broken at the tragic loss of one of their officers. In addition, Mayor Eric Garcetti stated that Sanchez had died a hero in the line of duty. He then requested that the flags be flown at half-staff.
By Donna W. Martin