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LAPD officer killed in crash: Memorial, donation fund set

Highway and Road DisastersTransportation DisastersDisasters and AccidentsHuman InterestLos Angeles Police Department

A memorial has been scheduled and a fund established for Los Angeles police officer Nicholas Lee, who died while on duty in a car crash in Beverly Hills.

A rosary is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Basil Catholic Church, 3611 Wilshire Blvd. in Koreatown, followed by a memorial at 9 a.m. Thursday at Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, 555 W. Temple St., downtown. Both events are open to the public.

In honor of Lee, the Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union has opened an account in his memory.

To make a donation, go to this website or send a check payable to “Blue Ribbon Trust for Nicholas Choung Lee” to the Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union; Attn: Blue Ribbon Nicholas Choung Lee, P.O. Box 10188.

Lee, 40, a married father of two daughters who served 16 years with the LAPD and received 70 commendations, was killed Friday morning when a large truck slammed into his police cruiser. His rookie partner, who left the academy only a few months ago and was in the passenger seat, was injured and released from the hospital Saturday night.

Responding to a call Friday morning, the officers were heading up a hilly street when their cruiser was stuck by a truck that came skidding down curving Loma Vista Drive.

The collision left the  cruiser mangled, and its top had to be pried off to remove the trapped officers inside. The truck, which had been carrying a dumpster and a Bobcat construction loader, overturned. Its driver was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.

The cause of the collision remains unclear. Authorities are focusing on a mechanical failure with the truck, possibly involving its brakes. The California Highway Patrol is leading an investigation.

National statistics show that traffic-related fatalities topped the list of law enforcement deaths last year. According to preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 46 of the 111 officers who died in the line of duty in 2013 were killed in either automobile or motorcycle crashes, or when they were struck outside their vehicles.

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joseph.serna@latimes.com

Twitter: @josephserna

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