Sheriff’s recruit in grave condition; one of 25 trainees hit by car in South Whittier crash.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A sheriff’s recruit who tried to save his partner from a car crash three years ago got to see the crash happen at close range, thanks to video from a surveillance camera mounted in the sheriff’s car that was recording the whole thing.
Michael Johnson, 24, was one of 25 trainees enrolled in the Cal State San Bernardino Police Academy when the May 2009 crash on East Fifth Avenue in South Whittier left him and another recruit critically injured, Sheriff’s Department officials said today.
He was riding a motorcycle, and his partner, Mark Davis, 31, was riding the motorcycle’s passenger side. The two men were riding south on Fifth Avenue near El Rancho Road when their motorcycles collided, setting off a chain reaction of collisions that also involved an oncoming car and an intersection marked by a stoplight.
All the victims were taken to the hospital, and Johnson was taken to Pomona Valley Hospital in Rancho Cucamonga, where he and Davis were treated for their injuries. The sheriff’s department on Monday called up a 23-person panel to conduct an independent investigation into the cause of the crash.
The preliminary report is expected to be completed in two or three months, then the panel will take several more months to draft a final report that will be forwarded to the State Bar of California to determine whether Johnson and Davis, who are suing the California Highway Patrol, will eventually be sanctioned for the crash.
“It is unfortunate that injuries and traumatic events are such a part of life in California, but there have been multiple fatal injuries or injuries to serious or critically injured persons due to roadway conditions involving county-owned vehicles on a daily basis for more than 16 years now,” said Sherilynn Vara, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of San Bernardino County, in a written statement. “Our members will be watching this independent investigation with great interest and we look forward to learning the facts and findings of the investigation.”
Investigators are also reviewing video captured by cameras installed in