Off-duty Orange County deputy killed in solo crash in Lake Elsinore

Aerial view of a hearse with police motorcycles next to it, followed by a group of deputies in uniform next to an SUV
The body of an off-duty Orange County deputy who was killed in a single-vehicle crash early Thursday in Lake Elsinore arrives at the Riverside County coroner’s office.
(KTLA-TV Channel 5)

An off-duty Orange County sheriff’s deputy died early Thursday in what authorities said was a single-vehicle crash in Lake Elsinore as he headed home at the end of a shift.

Officials identified the deputy as a six-year veteran of the department and a new father to a 1-month-old.

“Our hearts break with the news of the death of our fallen brother, Deputy Brian Haney,” Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said in a statement Thursday. “On behalf of the entire family at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his friends.”

Haney’s body was escorted by colleagues from the crash site to the Riverside County coroner’s office, said Sgt. Mike Woodroof of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

The crash was reported at 5:14 a.m. in the 25000 block of Railroad Canyon Road in Lake Elsinore.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash, and the deputy was the only occupant of the car, according to a statement released by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

In a statement, Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said Haney was most recently assigned as a patrol deputy in San Juan Capistrano.

“Today, Orange County Deputy Brian Haney tragically lost his life on his way home from a shift of keeping San Juan Capistrano families safe,” the statement read. “I’m grateful for his service, and my heart goes out to Deputy Haney’s loved ones. His young family will need our strong community support through the grief.”

Haney is survived by his wife, Leslee, and 1-month-old son Cole, Barnes said.

Kathy Chavez, 45, was heading to work when her car was hit by a Corvette that police said was speeding through a red light. The crash sent debris flying dozens of feet and left both vehicles mangled.


“I’m both shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the loss of one of our finest, Deputy Brian Haney this morning,” San Juan Capistrano Mayor Howard Hart said in a Facebook post. “I am especially devastated to learn that he leaves behind a loving wife and a newborn baby to whom he was returning home after protecting and serving our community.”

Details on how the crash occurred are under investigation, a department spokesperson said.

Images from a KTTV-TV Channel 11 journalist showed a vehicle that appeared to have crashed into a palm tree in the center median. A line of deputies stood at attention on the road as the deputy’s body was placed on a stretcher and draped with a U.S. flag.

Haney joined the department on Aug. 19, 2016, and began working at Theo Lacy jail, Barnes said. The deputy then joined San Juan Capistrano Police Services, as the contract service with the Sheriff’s Department is known.

“His brothers and sisters in our department described him as a quick learner, hard worker, and a team player,” Barnes said. “He was known for his infectious smile, humorous and timely wit, and love for his peers.”

Haney was also a member of the department’s Critical Incident Response Team.