01/26/2004

Motorcycle Officer, Driver Die in Crash

Officer Down: Steve Phillips - [Westminster, California]

Officer reportedly had the right of way when colliding with a sedan.

By David Haldane, The Los Angeles Times

A Westminster, Calif. motorcycle officer and a car's driver were killed Thursday when their vehicles collided in an intersection.

The officer was Steven Phillips, 46, of Corona, and the driver was Ly Xuan Ngo, 71, of Garden Grove.

"It's unclear" exactly what happened, Lt. Bill Lewis, a spokesman for the Westminster Police Department, said of the 4:30 p.m. crash at Trask Avenue and Jackson Street.

What is known, he said, is that Phillips, who had 18 years on the force, was on duty and traveling east on Trask when Ngo's silver Nissan sedan pulled out onto Trask from Jackson.

"It's unclear which direction he [Ngo] was attempting to go," Lewis said, adding that the intersection is controlled by stop signs. "The officer had the right of way."

The car, which was struck by the motorcycle on the driver's door, came to rest against a fire hydrant.

Ngo was pronounced dead at the scene, Lewis said. He said Phillips was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead 2 1/2 hours later.

"Apparently, they tried to work on him," Lewis said, "but he succumbed to internal injuries."

The cause of the accident remained under investigation, he said.

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