Officer Killed in Funeral Procession Motorcycle Crash

The crash occurred during a funeral procession for a Manhattan Beach police officer

By Angie Crouch and Bill French
|  Friday, May 27, 2011  |  Updated 7:42 AM PDT
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Thursday night, the Hawthorne Police Department flags were at half staff. Officer Andrew Garton, 44, was killed in an unusual accident where his motorcycle collided with another officer's bike.

Thursday night, the Hawthorne Police Department flags were at half staff. Officer Andrew Garton, 44, was killed in an unusual accident where his motorcycle collided with another officer's bike.

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Dozens of police officers lined up in a solemn goodbye Thursday night to salute the flag covered body of Hawthorne Police Officer Andrew Garton. Garton was killed earlier in the day in a collision while riding in a funeral procession. 

"We will overcome but at this time there is a deep saddened process," said Hawthorne Chief Robert Fager.

Garton, a seven-year department veteran, was killed on the job when his motorcycle collided with another motor officer from the El Segundo Police Department. He was then struck by a Toyota at 227th Street and Hawthorne Boulevard.

The two were taking part in the funeral procession of Manhattan Beach Police Officer Mark Vasquez, who recently died from cancer. Garton volunteered to work at the procession.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.

"The Hawthorne police officer was ejected into oncoming traffic and struck the vehicle north bound on hawthorne in the opposite direction," said Sgt. Jeremiah Hart of the Torrance Police Dept.

El Segundo Sgt. Rex Fowler, on the other motorcycle, suffered a broken leg and was listed in stable condition Thursday night at Harbor UCLA Medical Center.

Garton was married with two children.

"It’s very hard to believe it’s a dangerous job we work and we know the risks," said Sgt. Eric Lane of the Hawthorne Police Dept. "It will be a long recovery for our department  as well as his family."

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