A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant was fatally injured early this week in a patrol car crash in Compton that occurred after the victim suffered from a heart attack.
The crash happened about 5:20 a.m. at Myrrh Street and Willowbrook Avenue. Sgt. Al Lopez, 47, a 26-year veteran of the department, died at St. Francis Medical Center, according to the sheriff’s department.
Lopez had transferred to the sheriff’s Compton Station about a year ago.
“It is a tremendous loss to all of us,” Sheriff Jim McDonnell told reporters in a briefing outside the medical facility.
Lopez had gotten into his patrol car to assist other deputies who were involved in a pursuit of a stolen car, McDonnell said. However, the pursuit was called off about the time that the sergeant was pulling out of the parking lot of the Compton Station, McDonnell said.
A short time later, about 100 yards away, the patrol car crashed into a wrought-iron fence, McDonnell said. The chase had been called off for safety reasons, in part because of the rainy weather, the sheriff said.