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Motorcycle officer dies after crash during funeral procession; another officer remains critically hurt

May 26, 2011 |  5:30 pm


A motorcycle officer with the Hawthorne Police Department was killed and a motorcycle officer from the El Segundo Police Department was in "extremely critical condition" after a traffic crash during a funeral procession for another officer Thursday, officials said.

The officers were escorting the funeral procession -- for a recently deceased Manhattan Beach officer -- through Torrance about 12:30 p.m., when they were involved in a crash, Torrance Police Sgt. J. Hart said. The Hawthorne officer was thrown from his bike into traffic by the collision and hit by a vehicle traveling northbound on Hawthorne Boulevard near 227th Street, Hart said.

On Facebook, El Segundo police identified their injured officer as Sgt. Rex Fowler, a 20–year department veteran who wrote a fictional account of police work and mentoring called “A Frangible Quest."

The Hawthorne officer was identified as Andrew Garton, 44, who was with the department for 7 1/2 years. He had two sons, 12 and 7.

The officers were taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. The driver of the car was unhurt, Hart said.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash, Hart said.

Officers from several departments were escorting the funeral procession of Manhattan Beach Officer Mark Vasquez, who died recently after a battle with cancer. The funeral procession was heading from American Martyrs Roman Catholic Church in Manhattan Beach to Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes.


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-- Richard Winton

Photo: The crash scene. Credit: KTLA News.