Officer Struck by Hit and Run Driver

October 25, 1999

Monday, October 25, 1999
On Sunday, October 24, 1999, at approximately 4:50 A.M., Foothill Area Uniformed Officers Jeff Smith, 30 years of age, 3 and a half years with the Department, and his partner Rosa Reinaga, were investigating a hit and run traffic accident at the intersection of San Fernando Road and Tuxford Street when a large four door sedan vehicle heading northbound on San Fernando Road at a high rate of speed struck Officer Smith and two witnesses involved in the original accident. The suspect fled the scene; however, he was followed by a private security officer to Branford Avenue and the 5 freeway, where officers, alerted by the security officer, arrested the suspect. Witness statements indicate that the suspect intentionally struck the officer and the witnesses. The suspect Edgar Avitia, 18 years of age, has been arrested and booked for attempted murder.

Officer Smith is listed in critical condition with multiple fractures, however he is expected to recover. One injured witness is hospitalized with a fractured leg; the other witness suffered a fractured arm and has been released from the hospital.

Robbery Homicide Detectives are handling the investigation. For additional information, please contact the Media Relations Section 213-485-3586.

For Release 9:50 am PST
October 25, 1999