CARSON, Calif. – A Manhattan Beach Police Department motorcycle officer was killed Wednesday in a multi-vehicle crash on the northbound San Diego (405) Freeway in the Carson area.
The crash was reported at about 5:15 a.m. at Del Amo Boulevard, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Officer Chad Swanson, 35, a 13-year veteran, died at a hospital, the police department reported. According to Manhattan Beach police Lt. Kelly Benjamin, Swanson was married with three sons.
All northbound lanes were closed in the area while an investigation was conducted into the circumstances of the crash, a closure that continued late Wednesday morning. Traffic was backed up for miles during the morning commute.
According to the CHP, the officer, who was believed to have been on duty or driving to work, was involved in a crash that involved three other vehicles. One of those vehicles, which may have been speeding, made a lane change, hitting another vehicle that went out of control, according to the CHP.
The officer’s motorcycle was struck by one of the vehicles, knocking him to the ground. He was taken to Harbor UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, where he was pronounced dead. One other person suffered minor injuries and was also taken to a hospital.
The other motorists remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators, the CHP reported.
“The entire Manhattan Beach community is mourning the loss of an officer who dedicated his career to ensuring the safety and well-being of our residents,” Manhattan Beach Mayor Richard Montgomery said in a statement.
“His fearless contributions to our community and beyond were marked by bravery, integrity, and an unwavering commitment to duty,” Montgomery said.
“Our beloved officer exemplified courage, and his impact reached far beyond the precinct, touching the lives of those who had the privilege of working alongside him,” said Manhattan Beach police Chief Rachel Johnson.
“His absence leaves an indelible void with our tight-knit law enforcement family and the community he served,” Johnson said.
Benjamin fought back tears as she spoke to reporters about the officer’s death, saying he joined the department as a motorcycle officer and loved riding his bike.
“We’re hurting, we’re grieving,” Benjamin said.
She noted that Swanson was in the crowd at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas when a gunman opened fire on the crowd from a nearby hotel. Benjamin said Swanson helped get people and shooting victims out of the area.
“The Manhattan Beach Police Department is working closely with the family to provide support and assistance in the face of this tragic loss,” the city said in a statement.
“In the wake of this loss, our local agency partners will be assisting the Manhattan Beach Police Department and ensuring the continuity of public safety services. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family, friends, and colleagues of the officer. We ask for respect and understanding during this period of grief and reflection,” the statement said.
Late Wednesday morning, police were preparing to escort the officer’s body from the hospital to the county Medical Examiner’s Office downtown.