By Mary O’KEEFE
A California Highway Patrol officer from the Altadena Station was struck by a vehicle traveling on the Ventura (134) Freeway on Tuesday afternoon.
Officer J.D. Fields was transported to a local hospital with major injuries including a fractured femur and wrist after an SUV hit his motorcycle. On Wednesday he underwent surgery where a rod was put in his left thigh for the fractured femur. He is expected to have surgery on his wrist next week, according to CHP Office Ming-Yang hsu.
While traveling eastbound on the Ventura (134) Freeway transitioning to the northbound Glendale (2) Freeway Officer Fields noticed a disabled vehicle stopped in the number one lane. He activated his motorcycle’s emergency lights and changed lanes into the number one lane, behind the disabled vehicle.
An 80-year-old Tujunga woman driving a 2010 Nissan Murano was traveling in the number one lane and apparently failed to see the motorcycle officer. She allegedly veered into the number two lane and appeared to be in a position to miss the officer but then ventured back into the number one lane and struck Fields.
“We don’t know why she went back into the [number one] lane,” said Officer Ming-Yang hsu.
A witness allegedly reported that he saw the officer activate his lights and slow down as he switched lanes to assist the disabled vehicle. It appeared that the woman was going to to avoid the accident but then swerved back into the lane and struck the officer.
“The area of [that portion of the freeway] is a large sweeping curve,” hsu said.
However, hsu added, drivers are able to clearly see the vehicles.
The disabled vehicle was gone by the time backup CHP officers arrived. Officers do not know how or why the driver of the disabled vehicle left the scene. The Tujunga woman, as well as the witness, saw the disabled vehicle but neither were certain where it went.
The 59-year-old CHP officer was set to retire next month. He had been recognized in 2010 by the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce with the Law Enforcement Award CHP Officer of the Year.
“[Altadena CHP officers] are all great but he is one of the special ones,” said Jean Maluccio, former chamber president.
Officer Fields is well known in the area for his presence on the streets near local schools.
“Officer Fields is committed to keeping children safe in the La Crescenta school zones,” Maluccio added.