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LAPD vehicle crashes on 118 Freeway

Officer sustains head trauma after being thrown from the patrol car. His partner receives minor injuries.

April 08, 2008|Molly Hennessy-Fiske | Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles police officer finishing his shift with his partner Monday morning lost control of his patrol car and was thrown from the vehicle as it rolled over and was struck by another car on California 118 in Granada Hills, authorities said.

Officer Julio Lopez, 23, was driving west past White Oak Avenue with his partner, Officer Sarah Slavid, 25, in the front passenger seat at the time of the crash at 2:08 a.m., according to police and the California Highway Patrol.

The two were on their way to drop off the car before heading home and were not responding to a call, said Los Angeles Police Officer Norma Eisenman.

Investigators were still trying to determine why Lopez lost control of the car, which traveled up an embankment, flipped and landed in the far right lane, where it was struck by a white 2008 Nissan Altima driven by A. Sahnazoglu, an 18-year-old man from Chatsworth.

Sahnazoglu sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene, according to a CHP report.

CHP Officer Leon Hines said it was not clear Monday whether Lopez, who sustained severe head trauma, was wearing a seat belt, how fast he was driving or how many times his patrol car rolled over.

Hines said alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

Both officers, who work in a crime suppression unit based downtown and have been with the department 2 1/2 years, were taken to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills.

Slavid was released soon after, and Lopez was in stable condition after surgery Monday morning, Eisenman said.

After the crash, the CHP closed all westbound lanes of the freeway, diverting traffic for about four hours.

Police were still investigating what caused the crash and had not cited either driver, Hines said.

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molly.hennessy-fiske@ latimes.com

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