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Two motorcycle officers critically injured in crash during funeral procession [Updated]

May 26, 2011 |  3:30 pm

KTLA News

Two motorcycle officers from the Hawthorne and El Segundo police departments are 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.

[Updated at 4:27 p.m.: 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 officers were both taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where they are listed in extremely critical condition, he said. The driver of the car was unhurt, Hart said.

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

The departments are not naming the officers as they seek to contact their relatives. 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-TV Channel 5

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