By Kurt Streeter
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — A rookie LAPD officer badly injured in Beverly Hills on Friday when a large truck slammed into her police cruiser and killed her partner has been released from the hospital, a department spokeswoman said.
The officer, originally listed in critical condition and known publicly only as Stephanie because her full name has not been released by the department, was released Saturday night from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said LAPD spokeswoman Rosario Herrera.
Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff visited Stephanie on Friday and later said she suffered facial bruises and was in a neck brace. Soboroff said she appeared in positive spirits considering the tragedy she'd gone through.
By Saturday night she was in good enough physical condition to go home, said Herrera, who gave no further details on her injuries.
Responding to a call Friday morning, the officers were heading up a hilly street when their cruiser was stuck by a truck that came skidding down curving Loma Vista Drive.
The collision left the cruiser mangled, and its top had to be pried off to remove the trapped officers inside. The truck, which had been carrying a dumpster and a Bobcat construction loader, overturned. Its driver was taken to a local hospital and is expected to survive.
Dead at the scene was Officer Nicholas Choung Lee, 40, a married father of two daughters who served 16 years in the Los Angeles Police Department and received 70 commendations. His partner, whose age has also been withheld by the department, has been out of the police academy for just three months.
The cause of the collision is unclear, though authorities are focusing on a mechanical failure with the truck, possibly involving its brakes. The California Highway Patrol is leading an investigation.
National statistics show that traffic-related fatalities topped the list of law enforcement deaths last year. According to preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 46 of the 111 officers who died in the line of duty in 2013 were killed in either automobile or motorcycle crashes, or when they were struck outside their vehicle.
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