Updated at the bottom: Witnesses described the scene before crash as “chaotic.” The death of Garton is reported in an update on the next page.
Two motorcycle police officers were “badly hurt” when they collided during a funeral procession for a late Manhattan Beach cop in Torrance today, reports KNX 1070 Newsradio.
The afternoon accident happened at
Sepulveda 227th Street and Hawthorne Boulevard boulevards, possibly when one of the riders turned in front of the other, the station reported.
The accident was so bad, it seems, that …
… family members of one of the cops were flown in via helicopter, according to KNX.
Traffic in the area was reported to be jammed.
Update: City News Service reports that one officer was hospitalized in critical condition and that the other sustained moderate injuries. CNS:
Torrance police said one of the motorcyclists was thrown into oncoming traffic, then hit by another vehicle.
Update No. 2: Authorities say the officers are from the Hawthorne and El Segundo police departments.
The Hawthorne officer is apparently the one who was thrown from his bike.
Torrance Police Department Sgt. Jeremiah Hart told KNX:
The officer from the Hawthorne Police Department was thrown into oncoming traffic and he struck a vehicle that was traveling northbound on Hawthorne in the number one lane
There are conflicting reports about the condition of the El Segundo officer. Hart said both officers were in “extremely critical condition.''
Update No. 3: Authorities say 44-year-old Andrew Garton, the Hawthorne officer, died of his injuries this afternoon at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
ABC7 reported that the L.A. County Sheriff's Department helicoptered his wife and two children to the hospital.
The El Segundo cop was said to have sustained a broken leg. He was ID'd as Sgt. Rex Fowler.
The procession was for Manhattan Beach police Officer Mark Vasquez, who recently died of cancer.
A witness told ABC7 that the two motorcycle officers appeared to be going 80 miles and hour and “leapfrogging” each other while passing the slow moving procession when the accident happened.
Update No. 4: Witnesses told the Daily Breeze that the procession was “chaotic” before the crash. The Breeze:
Several witnesses described the procession as disorganized and chaotic as it wound through the South Bay. Suzanne Scott, who had known Vasquez from the time they were in elementary school and attended the funeral, said she was in a minor four-vehicle collision as the procession made its way through Manhattan Beach.
After the accident near Manhattan Beach and Aviation Boulevards, Scott was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries, where she heard about the Hawthorne Boulevard crash.
“It was chaotic,” Scott said. “There were just so many people.”
First posted at 3:26 p.m. on Thursday, May 26.