The Los Angeles County Coroner's office will conduct toxicology tests on the body of LAPD Officer Jose Diance-Cruz, who died in a solo-vehicle accident over the weekend. One of the things coroner's investigators are looking into is whether the off-duty 23-year-old was driving under the influence, they told us.
His Ford F150 pickup hit a guardrail on the Van Nuys Boulevard offramp from the eastbound 101 reeway about 3:20 a.m. Saturday, according to City News Service.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck mentioned the loss during the Police Commission's weekly meeting today, but did not mention the toxicology test. According to an LAPD summary of Beck's comments:
He said Officer Diance had just starting his career with the Department and had previously been a Police Cadet Captain in the Valley and a Police Student Worker.
Coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter told the Weekly Diance-Cruz's death has been officially ruled the result of a "blunt force trauma accident."
But, he said, toxicology tests would be conducted to determine if the officer was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash.
He said results wouldn't be available for about six weeks.
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TV news footage of the aftermath of the accident showed a guard rail going clear through the center of pickup Diance-Cruze was driving. A CHP officer at the scene told news crews the cop was thrown from the vehicle and they found him still buckled into his seat.
It was a rough weekend for the LAPD: Another officer, Joseph Bezak, was arrested on suspicion of DUI near LAX after LAX police allegedly spotted him riding a motorcycle the wrong way through the Sepulveda Tunnel.
There had been enough instances of off-duty cops and drunk driving in recent years -- including two suspected DUI deaths -- that Beck addressed the matter last June.