Los Angeles: The men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department are mourning the tragic loss of a veteran Police Detective and Police Officer after the two lost their lives in separate, off-duty traffic accidents today.
Just before 3:30 this morning, July 29, 2007, 52-year-old LAPD Detective III George Selleh of Simi Valley was killed while driving his motorcycle Southbound on the 101 Freeway near Highland Avenue. Detective Selleh came upon a one vehicle traffic collision that had occurred just moments before when the driver of a 1991 Toyota Corolla lost control of his car and hit the center divider. The Corolla spun and ended up blocking two lanes of traffic. Unable to avoid the Corolla, Detective Selleh collided with it and was thrown from his motorcycle. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
Eleven more vehicles were involved in accidents as drivers either hit the Corolla or swerved to avoid it. The Hollywood freeway was shut down for more than 12 hours as Officers with the California Highway Patrol investigated the initial crash and the multiple vehicle pileup.
Detective Selleh has been with the Department for 29 years. Appointed in May 1978, he was most recently assigned to the Mission Area Narcotics Enforcement Detail as the supervising detective. He had worked Narcotics since 1990. While at Mission Area, Detective Selleh was recognized as the supervisor of the quarter. He is survived by his wife, a 20-year old son and an 18-year old daughter.
Several hours later, around 10:30 am, while investigating a single vehicle accident, officers with the California Highway patrol discovered the body of 33 year old Police Officer II David Rodriquez. He was off duty and driving his personal car East on the Ventura Freeway when his vehicle left the road near Sepulveda Boulevard and crashed down an embankment.
Officer Rodriguez was appointed to the Department in May 2003. He was assigned to Van Nuys Patrol. After completing probation he transferred to North Hollywood where he patrolled the streets he grew up on. Officer Rodriguez established himself as a hard-working, proactive patrol officer. He received several commendations for his work and arrests. He also played a significant role in the arrest of the Valley "Pizza Bandit" in October 2006. He is survived by his mother and a brother.
As an organization the LAPD prides itself on being a family of caring and sympathetic individuals who not only share law enforcement related experiences, but also build lasting personal bonds. The men and women of the LAPD who worked and spent time with Detective Selleh and Officer Rodriguez describe them as men of integrity with tender spirits "Both men were extraordinarily talented and dedicated members of the organization," said Chief of Police William Bratton. "Their love of the Department was only exceeded by that which they felt for their families. We will never forget their contributions to the Department and the communities they served."
The men and women of the LAPD send their heartfelt condolences to the families of Detective Selleh and Officer Rodriguez.
This release was prepared by Lt. Ruben De La Torre. He can be reached at LAPD Media Relations Section at 213-485-3586.