Fire recruit killed on freeway had been in collision before exiting vehicle, CHP says

An aerial view of firefighters in white hats and dress uniform placing an American flag over a casket as others stand by
Firefighters pay tribute to L.A. Fire Department recruit Jacob Fuerte, killed Monday on the 101 Freeway in Studio City. Investigators say his Jeep had collided with a sedan, so he was outside his vehicle when he was struck in a multicar collision.

A Los Angeles Fire Department recruit fatally struck on the 101 Freeway early Monday morning was initially involved in a two-car collision before exiting his vehicle and being hit, a California Highway Patrol collision report has confirmed.

Jacob Fuerte, 22, of Riverside was killed just after 5 a.m. on the northbound side of the freeway at Campo De Cuehenga , south of the Vineland Avenue offramp in Studio City, according to the CHP report. Initial reports said Fuerte was rendering aid and may have been in a prior collision.

Fuerte was en route to the Fire Department’s Drill Tower Academy for training, fire officials confirmed.


The CHP report said that Fuerte’s vehicle had collided with a 2021 Ford sedan driven by a 36-year-old Montclair man. Fuerte exited his 2000 Jeep after the crash, and was struck by an unknown vehicle in a separate multicar accident.

A couple in their 60s and another unknown driver were also injured in the series of collisions.

Los Angeles fire officials arrived at the scene, where they declared Fuerte dead.

A Los Angeles Fire Department recruit was rendering aid at a traffic collision on the 101 Freeway when he was fatally injured, the department said.

April 16, 2024

The California Highway Patrol, which had begun investigating the incident as a potential criminal hit-and-run case, has since dropped that investigation, according to City News Service.

A call and email to the CHP’s West Valley office was not immediately returned.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Monica Rodriguez had introduced a motion to offer a $50,000 reward to anyone who could provide “information leading to the identification, apprehension and conviction” of those responsible for Fuerte’s death.

Fuerte, the son of an LAFD paramedic, had joined the department two months ago.

“Being raised in an LAFD family, recruit Fuerte understood the importance of helping those in need,” Capt. Erik Scott said Monday. “We extend our deepest sympathy to immediate family, friends and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.”