LAFD Recruit Killed in Freeway Crash—Hit and Run Investigation Underway

LAFD Recruit Killed in Freeway Crash—Hit and Run Investigation Underway

Firefighters with the Los Angeles Fire Department extinguish the flames of a fire in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 6, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

City News Service

City News Service

4/15/2024

Updated: 4/15/2024

STUDIO CITY, Calif.—A Los Angeles Fire Department recruit who may have been involved in a traffic collision and exited his vehicle on the 101 Freeway in Studio City was fatally struck April 15, possibly by a hit-and-run driver.
According to the Los Angeles Fire Department and California Highway Patrol, a two-vehicle crash occurred around 5:10 a.m. on the northbound 101 Freeway at Campo de Cahuenga, near Vineland Avenue.
LAFD spokesman Capt. Erik Scott said department recruit Jacob Fuerte, 22, was one his way to training when he “may have been involved in a traffic collision.”
“He got out of his vehicle, likely to assess the situation and render aid to anyone in need, when he was hit by another vehicle,” Mr. Scott said.
Mr. Fuerte was pronounced dead at the scene. There was no immediate information on the vehicle that struck him, and Mr. Scott said the CHP was conducting a hit-and-run investigation.
Fire officials initially indicated that the recruit had come upon a traffic crash on the freeway and stopped to render aid to those involved, but on Monday afternoon, Mr. Scott said Mr. Fuerte himself may have been involved in the initial crash.
Much of the northbound freeway was shut down in the area while an investigation was conducted. Mr. Fuerte’s body was eventually covered with an American flag and placed in a Medical Examiner’s van, then driven in a solemn procession to the Medical Examiner’s office in Boyle Heights. Firefighters were seen saluting as the procession exited the freeway.
Mr. Scott said Mr. Fuerte was the son of an active-duty 17-year veteran firefighter-paramedic.
“Raised in the LAFD family, recruit Mr. Fuerte understood the importance of helping those in need,” Mr. Scott said.
Mr. Fuerte joined the fire department on Feb. 12 and was in his 10th week of a 20-week training program, Mr. Scott said. He is survived by his father, two sisters, and a brother.
LAFD Chief Kristin Crowley issued a statement saying, “I received devastating news this morning that one of our firefighters lost their life tragically. He had just started his firefighting career, which requires courage, bravery, and prioritizing others before oneself. Our thoughts and prayers remain with his family during this most difficult time.”
Anyone with information regarding the fatality was urged to contact the CHP West Valley Office at 818-888-0980.
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