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County Deputy Dies in Freak Crash

July 08, 2006|Garrett Therolf | Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy driving the Riverside Freeway to work Friday morning was killed when he swerved to avoid a stove in Anaheim.

David Piquette, 32, of Corona was traveling to work at the sheriff's training academy in Whittier in his cruiser when he came across the stove about 5 a.m. in the westbound lanes.

At the same time, the driver of a tractor-trailer veered to the right as well and both drivers lost control of their vehicles.

The truck's cab smashed through a sound wall and into the parking lot of Fry's Electronics in the 3300 block of E. La Palma Ave.

One of the two trailers the truck was pulling landed atop Piquette's car on the freeway, killing him instantly.

The trucker, Thomas Hipsher, 39, of Hesperia, was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange for treatment of minor to moderate injuries.

California Highway Patrol Officer Jennifer Hink, who provided the description of events, said officers were interviewing witnesses in an effort to find out where the stove came from.

A CHP news release said officers didn't know how fast Piquette was traveling.

The two trailers spilled much of the cement powder they were carrying, and cleanup efforts continued throughout the day.

All six lanes of the freeway were reopened by 3 p.m.

Piquette is survived by his wife and 3-year-old twins.

He was a 10-year veteran of the department and trained recruits to defend themselves without the use of weapons.

The position is considered an elite one.

His captain, Susan Kotterud, said the department is reviewing whether Piquette's death will be considered to have occurred on duty to see if his family will be eligible for survivor benefits.

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