Wave Wire Services
LAKEWOOD — Funeral arrangements are pending for a 41-year-old Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department motorcycle deputy killed in a collision in an intersection Feb. 25 while attempting to make a traffic stop.
Thomas Albanese, a seven-year veteran of the department and married father of two, was attempting to pull over a black sedan just before 9 a.m. when he entered the intersection of Paramount and Del Amo boulevards, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.
Albanese was northbound on Paramount Boulevard when a silver Mercedes-Benz, which was westbound on Del Amo Boulevard, struck him in the intersection.
The force of the crash was “extreme,” and Albanese was thrown from his bike and died at the scene, the sheriff said.
The driver of the Mercedes-Benz was evaluated at the scene, said Anthony Whittle, a deputy fire chief with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
A U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served four tours of duty 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.
“Ultimately, his dream was to become a … motor deputy,” Villanueva said. “It’s just a tough day for everybody.”
Albanese was assigned to the Pico Rivera Station after passing motor school in March. He was working overtime out of the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station when the fatal accident occurred.
He was a husband and father of two young boys, ages 7 and 11, the sheriff said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that flags at the State Capitol would be flown at half-staff in honor of Albanese.
“Jennifer and I extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Deputy Albanese, who was tragically killed while on duty,” Newsom said. “Our brave first responders place their lives in danger every day to protect their communities. We are forever grateful for his service to the people of Los Angeles.”
Lakewood Mayor Todd Rogers issued a statement saying the city’s residents “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.”
Rogers spent 32 years working for the sheriff’s department.