- Associated Press - Friday, May 9, 2014

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - A cement truck smashed into a pickup truck Friday, killing an off-duty Los Angeles police detective on the same steep road where another truck accident killed an LAPD policeman two months ago.

The collision occurred shortly before 2 p.m. in the 1000-block of Loma Vista Drive. It seriously injured the cement truck driver and prompted authorities to bar heavy traffic from the road, a scenic two-lane street that winds among an area of mansions - some of them still under construction.

At a news conference, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said he was “stunned into disbelief” when he learned the crash location was the same road where another LAPD officer was killed in March.

“It’s just too horrific for words,” he said.

Beck said it appears that the cement truck lost control and crossed into the oncoming lane.

The detective who was killed was a 25-year veteran and worked in the LAPD’s Southwest Division but had “off-duty employment” in the area and regularly traveled the road, Beck said. His name was not immediately released.

Televised reports showed the shattered wreckage of the cement truck. Its mixer apparently became separated from the truck body in the crash, while the pickup truck was smashed.

Hours after the crash, two rows of police officers and firefighters stood at attention and saluted as the flag-draped body of their colleague passed between their ranks and was placed in a Los Angeles County coroner’s van. Police cars escorted the van to the morgue.

It was the third crash on the road involving a heavy truck in two months. A week ago, another cement truck overturned and struck several parked cars, injuring the driver.

On March 7, a runaway truck hauling a trash container struck a Los Angeles patrol car, killing Officer Nicholas Lee, a 16-year veteran, and injuring another officer.

Beverly Hills Police Chief David Snowden said heavy trucks have now been barred from the street for 30 days while the city looks at ways of preventing further accidents.

Trucks over 3 tons already are prohibited on the street, which has a runaway truck ramp at the bottom.

Snowden said he believes overloaded trucks or faulty brakes might contribute to accidents on the road.

“We’re going to start weighing trucks as they come in here” but it still might be difficult to deal with the situation, he said.

“We could set motor officers up here all day and write tickets, but how’s a motor officer going to stop a truck coming down the hill at 70 mph with no brakes?” he said. “So the issue is not speed on the street as much as it is the heavy traffic on the street.”

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