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Hawthorne officials remember officer who died in motorcycle crash as a dedicated officer and a good father

May 26, 2011 |  7:18 pm

Officer Andrew Garton Hawthorne city officials on Thursday evening were stunned and saddened by the death of Officer Andrew Garton, who was fatally injured in a motorcycle collision during a funeral procession for a fellow officer.

Garton, 44, a 7 1/2-year veteran of the Hawthorne Police Department, collided with an El Segundo motorcycle officer and was thrown into oncoming traffic as the motorcade passed through Torrance on Thursday afternoon, authorities said. The other officer was listed in stable condition.

Garton "was an excellent officer and very hard working,” Hawthorne Mayor Larry Guidi said. "This is a tragedy, but it will bring us all closer together. You kiss your family goodbye in the morning, and you never know what will happen.”

Mayor Pro Tem Alex Vargas remembered Garton as a jovial, well-liked father who enjoyed riding bikes and playing baseball with his two boys, ages 7 and 12.

"He loved his kids," Vargas said. "He was the finest officer any police department could have. ... The loss hurts me, and it's going to affect the community."

The officer who was injured was identified as Sgt. Rex Fowler, a 20–year veteran of the El Segundo Police Department who wrote a fictional account of police work and mentoring called “A Frangible Quest," authorities said.

He was listed Thursday evening in stable condition with a broken leg, according to police officials.

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.


Motorcylce officer dies after funeral procession crash

-- Richard Winton (Twitter: @LAcrimes) and Robert J. Lopez (@LAJourno)

Photo: Officer Andrew Garton. Credit: Larry Guidi.