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Off-duty Calif. detective struck and killed after rendering aid

Detective Amber Leist was struck by a vehicle after helping an elderly woman cross the street


Detective Amber Leist was struck and killed by a car Sunday morning after she helped an elderly woman cross the street.

Photo/Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

Ruben Vives
Los Angeles Times

VALLEY VILLAGE, Calif. — A car struck and killed a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detective on Sunday in the Valley Village area after she helped an elderly woman cross the street, authorities said.

The accident occurred around 11 a.m. Sunday at Riverside Drive and Whitsett Avenue as off-duty detective Amber Leist was returning to her car, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

Leist, 41, was taken to a local hospital, where she later died of her injuries, Villanueva said during a news conference.

“She was an outstanding detective,” Villanueva said. “She would lead by example through her act of kindness.”

Leist, who was a 12-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, began her career as a sheriff’s deputy at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic. She was assigned to the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station before moving to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, where she moved up the ranks from patrol to detective, Villanueva said.

Leist was at the red light waiting to make a left turn when she saw an elderly woman fall to the ground. She put her car in park and ran to help the woman cross the street. Shortly after, Leist was struck by a vehicle heading east on Riverside Drive. The driver pulled over and tried to render aide to the deputy, Villanueva said.

Leist leaves behind her parents and two sons, one who is serving in the Navy.

Villanueva said that personnel at West Hollywood station were being relieved to give them the chance to grieve their loss. He said the department has also assigned a psychologist to the station.

“It’s a tough day for our department,” Villanueva said. “We’re going to get through this as a family.”

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the accident. No further details were immediately released about the incident.

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