Lakewood

Father of Two Died Living His Dream as LA County Sheriff's Department Motorcycle Deputy

The crash involving a member of the department's motorcycle unit occurred at Del Amo and Paramount boulevards.

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What to Know

  • Thomas Albanese was a seven-year veteran of the department.
  • He died instantaneously from the impact of the crash.
  • Albanese attempting to make a traffic stop when he was struck.

A 41-year-old Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department motorcycle deputy died Thursday in a collision with a Mercedes-Benz sedan in the Lakewood area.

Thomas Albanese, a seven-year veteran of the department and father of two, died instantaneously from the impact of the crash, which occurred just before 9 a.m. at the intersection of Del Amo and Paramount boulevards, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Albanese was northbound on Paramount and attempting to make a traffic stop when the Mercedes-Benz, which was westbound on Del Amo, struck him at the intersection, Villanueva said.

The force of the crash was "extreme," and Albanese was thrown from his bike, the sheriff said.

The driver of the vehicle was evaluated at the scene, said Anthony Whittle a deputy fire chief with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Villanueva said in a Twitter post Thursday morning, "I can confirm this appears to be an unfortunate accident."

A United States Marine Corps veteran who served four tours in Iraq, Albanese joined the sheriff's department in July 2013 and became a deputy two years later, Villanueva said. He held assignments at the Men's Central Jail, Transit Services Bureau and at the Lakewood station as a field training officer.

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy, father and Marine veteran lost his life in a crash in Lakewood. Jonathan Gonzalez reports for the NBC4 News on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2021.

"Ultimately, his dream was to become a … motor deputy," Villanueva said.

Albanese was assigned to the Pico Rivera Station after passing motor school in March.

He was a husband and father of two young boys, ages 7 and 11, the sheriff said.

"It's just a tough day for everybody," he said.

Albanese's remains were taken to the Los Angeles County coroner's office by way of a procession.

Lakewood Mayor Todd Rogers said in a statement Thursday, "The residents of Lakewood are eternally grateful for the service that our Sheriff's Department personnel provide us … and today's traffic accident shows how on any day of the year that service can be risky and dangerous.

"We are in solidarity with the men and women of the sheriff's department who are mourning the loss of one of their colleagues … and we hope that you will join us in keeping the family of Deputy Tom Albanese in your thoughts and prayers in the days ahead."

A GoFundMe raised more than $50,000 by Friday.

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