Thomas Albanese, a motorcycle deputy for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, was on the force for seven years. Sheriff Alex Villanueva says he normally worked out of Pico Rivera, but on this day he was doing overtime for the Lakewood Station.
Witnesses say they saw Albanese going after a car believed to be a Dodge Charger that was speeding.
Says the Sheriff, "As he entered the intersection he was struck by a Mercedes-Benz traveling westbound on Del Amo."
Carol Daly was in the area at the time. She says, "It was around 9 a.m. I heard this big ka-boom... bam."
The Sheriff says the woman in the Mercedes Benz, who has not yet been identified, was treated and released and now the investigation will determine exactly what went wrong. It could take some time, according to authorities.
As for the vehicle Albanese was chasing, the Sheriff says, "We do not know who it was in that vehicle. He did not stop and it’s up to investigators to determine if that is something worthy of them pursuing as a course of the investigation."
As investigators were pouring over the wreckage, others lined up for the solemn procession that always happens in these situations.
Lights flashing and sirens blaring dozens and dozens of motorcycle officers and law enforcement cruisers, in solemn procession, traveled down surface streets. They passed the site of the deadly accident at Paramount and Del Amo that included a white coroner's van carrying the remains of the fallen deputy.
The procession traveled under a salute of extended LA County Fire Department ladders. It passed a line of officers from Long Beach Police saluting as they paid their respects. From the very long line of cars traveled on freeways to the Coroner’s office in Boyle Heights where there were more salutes and more respect. And, there, the body of Deputy Albanese was removed from the coroner’s van and taken inside.
Albanese was a Marine veteran who had served in Iraq before joining the Sheriff's Department. He leaves behind a wife and two children. Deputy Thomas Albanese was 41.
A memorial fund has been set up for Albanese's grieving family. Those interested in helping can click here for more information.