Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

CHP officer killed in Redlands identified as 7-year veteran, father of two [Updated]

June 11, 2010 | 11:06 am

The California Highway Patrol officer who was killed Friday morning during a pursuit in Redlands was identified as Tom Coleman, an officer in the San Bernardino division of the agency, officials said.

Chp2 Coleman, a seven-year veteran of the department, was killed about 6:30 a.m. during a pursuit that began minutes earlier when he tried to pull over a Ford Focus on Mountain View Drive near the 210 Freeway and the driver wouldn't stop, said Mario Lopez, a spokesman for the Inland division of the CHP.

Within a few minutes, Coleman crashed into a big rig and the suspect continued on, crashing moments later with another car near the Citrus Plaza shopping center. The four people inside the Ford Focus were arrested.

On Friday morning, a blue and silver CHP helmet lay on the side of the intersection of San Bernardino Avenue and Alabama Street, where Coleman was killed. Part of a mangled motorcycle lay nearby. Coleman's body was draped in an American flag, which was shrouded by a red tarp.

“It was a very short pursuit," Lopez said. "It happened no more than one or two minutes later."

CHP Officer Daniel Hesser said Coleman was traveling using lights and sirens. Coleman, a married father of two, was declared dead at the scene.

Officer-Tom-Coleman [Updated at 1:23 p.m.: Jose Acosta, of Fontana, who was driving a delivery truck and witnessed the accident, said he grabbed a fire extinguisher and put out the flames that consumed the burning motorcycle. He said Coleman was thrown to the pavement and lay there unconscious. A man ran from a nearby school and attempted to administer CPR to Coleman. He said the man began crying when he realized Coleman could not be revived. Then the fire trucks and ambulances arrived.]

The fatality was the second serious accident this week involving a CHP motorcycle officer. On Wednesday, a driver who veered onto the shoulder of the 405 Freeway in West L.A. hit an officer who is still hospitalized in critical condition.

“It’s heartbreaking," Lopez said Friday. "A few days ago, we had another officer go down in the L.A. area."

-- Ching-Ching Ni in Redlands and Richard Winton

Top photo: CHP officers investigate the accident scene, where fellow officer Tom Coleman died during a high-speed pursuit Friday morning. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Middle photo: A helmet lays among debris at the scene of the crash. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: CHP officer Tom Coleman. Credit: CHP