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Off-duty LAPD officer was legally drunk when she died in car crash

May 4, 2010 | 10:09 pm

A Los Angeles police officer who died in an off-duty traffic collision in February in Diamond Bar was legally drunk at the time of the crash, authorities said Tuesday night.

Jacqueline Montalvo, 37, a veteran of the LAPD's Hollywood Division, was driving north on Grand Avenue near Longview Drive on Feb. 25 when her vehicle swerved across the grass-and-concrete center divider and collided with a southbound vehicle, authorities said. She lived in nearby Rowland Heights. Jacqueline Montalvo

The collision caused a chain-reaction crash with two other cars, authorities said. Montalvo died at the scene and at least one other driver suffered traumatic injuries and was taken by helicopter to a hospital.

In a statement released Tuesday night, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said a coroner's report indicated that Montalvo was legally drunk when she died.

Her death, Beck said, "was a tragic event for not only her immediate family members, but her LAPD family as well."

Beck said department statistics show that among its nearly 13,000 employees, about 16 officers and 5 civilian employees were arrested for driving under the influence annually between 2006 to 2008.

"The LAPD takes its responsibility to educate our personnel about the dangers of alcohol use and driving while under the influence very seriously," he said, adding that the department screens prospective employees for alcohol problems and has programs in place to educate officers about the dangers of excessive drinking.

"I believe the men and women of the LAPD have a responsibility to hold themselves to a higher standard," Beck said.

-- Robert J. Lopez

Photo: Jacqueline Montalvo. Credit: LAPD