Officer in Tuesday night crash was driving through green light [updated]

An accident occurred on La Mirada Boulevard and Oakwood Lane Tuesday night, affecting students and cutting off traffic.


Mike Villa

A La Mirada officer stands by on the scene of a car crash on the corner of La Mirada Blvd and Oakwood Lane Tuesday night. City firefighters, police, and campus safety were involved in the scene. No Biola students were confirmed to be involved. Photo by Kelsey Heng

Kathryn Watson, Writer

Sergeant Brian Neel from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and one other person were hospitalized and released for minor injuries after a two-car crash in front of the La Mirada gatehouse at La Mirada Boulevard and Oakwood Lane Tuesday night.

Campus Safety Sgts. Jorge Median and Randy Chung were nearby investigating another incident when a 72-year-old Fullerton woman crashed into Neel’s patrol car as he was going through a green light at the intersection around 10 p.m. Neel was on duty at the time, said Sergeant Ray Ward with the Norwalk division of the LASD. No students were involved in the accident.

Biola’s Campus Safety responds within seconds of crash

According to Campus Safety chief John Ojeisekhoba, Median and Chung radioed the appropriate authorities, and four other Campus Safety officials, Cpl. David Bustamante, officer Matt Hammock, officer Jon Morouse and officer in Training Richard Wildman, quickly arrived to help at the scene.

“They actually heard the accident occur and were able to be on the scene within seconds,” said Justin Shelby, public information officer for Campus Safety.

Campus safety officers commended for work

One officer stayed with the Neel, who was trapped in his car, and another officer stayed with the injured woman while the other officers redirected traffic while they waited for city emergency response teams to arrive.

“As chief I’m extremely proud of what [Campus Safety officers] did,” Ojeisekhoba said. “It was out of our jurisdiction. For them to not only respond, but control the scene like they did….”

Biola officers also gathered information on the accident and injuries and were able to help firemen and police when they arrived. The collaboration increased positive relations between Campus Safety and La Mirada, Ojeisekhoba said.

“I received a phone call from the commander in charge of this area, and he told me that Biola Campus Safety officers acted like any of his deputies would have acted, meaning [Biola] did the best and did it well,” Ojeisekhoba said.

Accident temporarily blocks traffic and draws a crowd

The accident attracted multiple fire engines and police vehicles, and temporarily blocked traffic in both directions between Tacuba Drive and Foster Road. Campus Safety officers barred students from exiting campus through the La Mirada gatehouse until 2 a.m.

“There’s definitely a big crowd out here,” said sophomore Thomas Maurietto at the time of the accident. “A lot of people were really concerned.”

Sophomore Matt Fier, who arrived at the scene just after the accident, said he saw the Jaws of Life at the scene. Jaws of Life are typically used to cut away at a vehicle to help a trapped person escape.

“You never think of a cop getting in an accident,” said senior Joshua Lane, who walked over to observe and expressed concern for those involved.

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