Off-duty LA sheriff killed while helping woman cross the street

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VALLEY VILLAGE, Calif. — An off-duty sheriff’s detective was fatally struck by a vehicle in Valley Village Sunday while trying to help an older woman across the street, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

The crash that took the life of 41-year-old Deputy Amber Leist occurred around 11:05 a.m. Sunday at the intersection of Whitsett Avenue and Riverside Drive, according to Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

Leist was a 12-year veteran of the department, Villanueva said.

“Deputy Leist leaves behind her parents and two sons, one 20 years old and the second 17 years old,” Villanueva said during a news conference at the West Hollywood station Sunday evening.

“The 20-year-old son is on active duty with the U.S. Navy and we were able to reach him,” Villanueva said. “It’s been a tough day for our department and for the West Hollywood station, where she was assigned,” he said.

Villanueva said personnel at the West Hollywood station were replaced Sunday by personnel from other locations so that the West Hollywood team had a chance to grieve their loss. The department also assigned a psychologist to the station, he said.

Leist was pronounced dead after she had been transported to a hospital, the LAPD said.

She was struck while “assisting a civilian,” the sheriff said. He described that civilian as an elderly person who had fallen down while crossing a street.

The driver who hit the deputy stayed at the scene to render help, the LAPD said.

Editor’s note: This story initially reported that the crash happened Saturday night. Deputy Leist was struck by the vehicle around 11:05 a.m. Sunday.

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