A truck driver convicted in a 2014 crash that killed a veteran Los Angeles police officer will not spend time in jail, a court sentenced last week.
Robert Maldonado, 49, was driving a dump truck on March 7, 2014, when he slammed into Officer Nicholas Lee’s patrol vehicle at the intersection of Loma Vista Drive and Robert Lane around 8 a.m. He was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter.
Lee, who worked in the LAPD for 16 years, was killed instantly. Meanwhile, a female officer who graduated from the police academy three months prior sustained non-life threatening injuries.
Investigations revealed that Maldonado, who owns a dump truck company, failed to maintain and inspect the vehicle as per his carrier permit. This caused the brakes to fail, according to ABC 7.
On May 1, Maldonado received a five-year probation instead of six years in prison after pleading without contest in April 2017 to the felony charge. Under the plea agreement, the offense will be reduced to a misdemeanor if he was not arrested or convicted of another offense for the following year.
Judge David Stuart said that Maldonado satisfied the requirement, sentencing him to probation. Andrew Flier, Maldonado’s lawyer, told MyNewsLA.com:
“I’m very happy with this outcome, although it’s a very tragic case that a police officer has been lost. We wish the best for the Lee family.”
Lee, who died at 40, immigrated to the U.S. when he was 6. He was a decorated officer, earning more than 70 commendations in his career at the LAPD. He leaves his wife, Cathy, and two young daughters.
“Nick was a great cop. His hard work, dedication and leadership helped mold young police officers into law enforcement professionals,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.
“Nick’s death is a great loss to our police family, all of law enforcement and the residents of Los Angeles. The LAPD is forever grateful for the 16 years he spent protecting our great City. I send my most sincere thoughts and prayers to his wife, two daughters, and the entire Lee family.”