A firefighter from Georgia was killed and two of his colleagues were injured when the vehicle in which they were traveling was struck Monday night by a suspected drunken driver near the Southern California seaside community of Marina del Rey.
The three-vehicle collision happened around 10 p.m. at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Washington Boulevard, said Lt. Joseph Sanchez of the Los Angeles Police Department's Pacific Division. The firefighters were part of a large group visiting Southern California on vacation.
"We're just completely broken-hearted," said Jackie Gibbs, chief of the Marietta, Georgia Fire Department.
The firefighter was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene, Sanchez said. The other two firefighters were taken to hospitals, one for treatment of a possible broken collarbone and hip, and the other for cuts sustained in the crash, he said.
The injuries were not considered life-threatening.
The deceased firefighter was identified by the Marietta Fire Department, which has 135 members, as Ron C. Herens. A police escort transported the firefighter's body to the coroner's office.
"In the face of this tragedy, we just wanted the folks of Los Angeles to know that the Los Angeles Police Department, the LA Fire Department and the LA Coroner's Office have just been amazing," said Gibbs. "Their response to our needs has just been unbelievable, and we are heartfelt and grateful for everything the folks in LA have done for us."
The driver who struck them was taken into custody on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, Sanchez said. A couple in the third car involved in the crash was not hurt, he added.
Witnesses at the scene said the suspected drunken driver ran a red light at 80 to 100 miles per hour when he crashed into the firefighters' vehicle.