The Los Angeles police detective killed Friday when a cement truck crashed into his pickup in Beverly Hills has been identified as a family man who had been with the department for 27 years.
Det. Ernest L. Allen Sr. was assigned to the LAPD’s Southwest Division, the department confirmed Saturday. Allen was not on duty at the time of the crash.
He had also been previously assigned to 77th Street, Wilshire and Rampart areas, the LAPD said in a statement. Allen leaves behind his mother, two children, two grandchildren, a sister and a fiance, the statement said.
The detective died on the same street where a fellow officer died in a similar crash two months ago and was the fourth Los Angeles officer to die in a traffic incident since March.
Cmdr. Andrew Smith said Friday that Allen was traveling in the 1000 block of winding Loma Vista Drive in Trousdale Estates when the accident occurred about 2 p.m.
Investigators suspect that the cement truck was southbound on Loma Vista, went out of control and crossed the double yellow line before slamming into the officer's vehicle. The truck driver was hospitalized in critical condition.
“I was stunned and in disbelief when I got the call and was told of the location,” Police Chief Charlie Beck said Friday. Beck described Allen as a family man and well-respected detective.
“It is just too horrific for words,” the chief said.
Beck noted that Friday's crash occurred only 25 yards from where a dump truck struck an LAPD patrol car March 7, killing Officer Nicholas Lee and injuring his partner. As Beck spoke to the media, the skid marks from the previous accident were still visible.
“The city is still reeling from the recent death of three on-duty LAPD officers, and my heart aches at the death of yet another of our officers,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Friday. “This is a difficult time for our men and women in blue, and the whole city joins them in mourning the loss of these heroes.”
In addition to Lee and the detective killed Friday, motorcycle Officer Christopher Cortijo, a 26-year veteran of the department, was fatally injured in Sun Valley last month when he was hit at a red light by a woman suspected of driving under the influence of cocaine.
Officer Roberto Sanchez was killed and another officer injured May 3 when their patrol car was hit by a sport utility vehicle in Harbor City. The driver of the SUV has been charged with murder. Funeral services for Sanchez are scheduled for Wednesday.
The cause of Friday's crash is under investigation, and Loma Vista was closed between Doheny Road and Drury Lane. At the scene, twisted metal and debris were strewn on the ground. The cement truck was broken apart, and its rear wheels had come to rest against a tree.
Allen's body was removed from his damaged pickup, placed on a gurney and covered with an American flag. As the gurney was pushed toward a coroner's van, two lines of police and firefighters saluted.
Beverly Hills police Sgt. Max Subin said Friday's crash, taken together with the fatal incident in March, has prompted officials to increase traffic enforcement on Loma Vista and reevaluate the safety of the street, which is one of the city roads where heavy-duty vehicles are permitted to travel.
A 30-day moratorium on truck traffic has been imposed, and truck drivers will be required to weigh their vehicles before proceeding on Loma Vista.