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  • No Charges Filed In CHP Death

    No charges to be filed in 405 Freeway crash that killed CHP officer

    May 26, 2011
    Los Angeles Times

    Criminal charges will not be filed against a motorist who lost conciousness on the 405 Freeway in West L.A. and slammed into several cars, fatally injuring a veteran California Highway Patrol officer, officials said Thursday.

    Philip Dennis Ortiz, 52, died 13 days after being pinned under a car that was hit by an Infiniti sedan on the morning of June 9, 2010, during a traffic stop on the shoulder of the northbound 405.

    Two other people suffered minor injuries in the incident, which disrupted traffic on the key Westside artery and surrounding surface streets for hours.

    The driver, identified as Daniel Ogara, told authorities he felt ill and blacked out shortly before the collision.

    After a nine-month investigation, which included a thorough analysis of Ogara's medical history, CHP officials determined that he had passed out behind the wheel due to a combination of factors, including dehydration and flu-like symptoms, according to multiple sources familiar with the investigation.

    Although the car driven by Ogara was in the emergency breakdown lane, which under normal circumstances would constitute a criminal violation, there was no legal foundation to pursue a criminal filing because the driver suffered an "unforseeable medical emergency," CHP officials concluded.
    The exception means Ogara did not violate California vehicle laws, and officials also found no evidence he was negligent in the operation of his vehicle.

    The accident investigation report, which was more than 500 pages, was presented to the L.A. County district attorney's office, which decided not to file charges.

    At the time of the accident Ogara was passing through West Los Angeles while commuting to a work meeting from his Orange County home.

    The investigation found that when Ogara lost conciousness the car struck a soundwall along the far right emergency lane of the northbound 405 Freeway in the Palms area but continued in a relatively straight line because the tires became locked in place in a drainage ditch.

    The collision took place around 8:35 a.m. when Ogara's Infiniti rammed the CHP officer's motorcycle at about 50 mph and pinned Ortiz against a sport utility vehicle that had been pulled over.

    Television news footage showed signs of a violent collision, with Ortiz's motorcycle twisted and battered and the SUV on its side. All the northbound lanes of the freeway were closed until 5 p.m. that day.

    Ogara and two people in the Hyundai were briefly hospitalized with minor injuries.

    But Ortiz, who was one year away from retirement, suffered massive trauma and died about two weeks later.

    Ortiz was one of two L.A. County officers honored Wednesday in a ceremony memorializing those killed in the line of duty in 2010.

    CHP officials said plans were underway to mark the location where Ortiz was struck with a memorial sign.

    Capt. Edward Gingras told The Times the incident demonstrated that even though Ortiz had the best training and followed all the rules, he still paid with his life.

    "Officer Otiz did everything right and there was nothing he could have done to avoid the incident," Gingras said. "Sometimes it's forgotten that it's a dangerous job, but it is."
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

    [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]


  • #2
    If you were so sick why didn't you stay home in bed and one of our brothers would still be with us...
    Retired LASD

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Retired96 View Post
      If you were so sick why didn't you stay home in bed and one of our brothers would still be with us...
      Perhaps, he had to work or else he wouldn't be able to pay his bills in order to support his family?

      This is a tragic accident and the guy will have to live with this the rest of his life. The Capt said it best... you guys just have a dangerous job...

      Comment


      • #4
        Ofcr. Ortiz's death was definitely tragic and occurred about the same time that several other CHP officers were killed. It is a testament to the objectivity of the CHP that they exonerated the driver under these circumstances.
        Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
        Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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        • #5
          I bet many of you drove while feeling ill, heck people can black out with no prior symptoms.
          Life is what you make of it

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DAL View Post
            Ofcr. Ortiz's death was definitely tragic and occurred about the same time that several other CHP officers were killed. It is a testament to the objectivity of the CHP that they exonerated the driver under these circumstances.
            CHP didn't really exonerate the driver....they did an impartial investigation and presented it to the DA, who declined to file charges.

            RIP Officer Ortiz.
            sigpic
            Originally posted by Smurfette
            Lord have mercy. You're about as slick as the business side of duct tape.
            Originally posted by DAL
            You are without doubt a void surrounded by a sphincter muscle.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DAL View Post
              Ofcr. Ortiz's death was definitely tragic and occurred about the same time that several other CHP officers were killed. It is a testament to the objectivity of the CHP that they exonerated the driver under these circumstances.
              THIS. I am sure that they climbed up this guy with a microscope and still determined there was nothing. It would be one thing if the prosecutor declined to prosecute against the judgement of CHP, but CHP saying it is a different story.
              "Did that hurt? It looked like it hurt"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Retired96 View Post
                If you were so sick why didn't you stay home in bed and one of our brothers would still be with us...
                Maybe he didn't feel ill until he started driving?

                Comment

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