LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Fire Department is mourning the loss of Captain Michael Shepard, who died Wednesday after his Jeep collided with a Caltrans vehicle on the northbound Antelope Valley (14) Freeway.
“Captain Shepard joined our department as a firefighter in 2006 and steadily promoted through the ranks. He leaves behind his wife, four sons, two daughters, and seven grandchildren. He loved his family, fishing, running, hiking, traveling, and working on cars,” according to a statement by LACoFD.
Shepard’s wife, Cathy, released a statement through LACoFD that said: “Mike was a dedicated husband, father and fire captain. He was the source of love, comfort, protection and joy to the entire family. It is with grieving hearts that we have lost him, but we are forever grateful for each minute we spent with him.”
The fatal collision happened around 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, on the 14 Freeway just south of Sand Canyon Road in Santa Clarita, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The Caltrans vehicle — a GMC3500 with a dump truck bed that was part of a sweeper operation — was traveling within the northbound center median when it was rear-ended by Shepard’s Jeep, the CHP reported.
Shepard, an Agua Dulce resident and captain at Fire Station 132 in Canyon Country, sustained fatal injuries. The driver of the Caltrans vehicle suffered moderate injuries and was taken to Henry Mayo Memorial Hospital for treatment, according to the CHP.
The crash shut down the carpool and number one lanes until about 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23. Caltrans reported that the closures had caused an eight-mile, 90-minute traffic backup.
Previous related story: One person dead, Caltrans worker hurt in crash on 14 Freeway in Santa Clarita