LOS ANGELES – Relatives of an off-duty Los Angeles County Fire Department captain killed in January when his Jeep crashed into the back of a Caltrans dump truck on the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway are suing the state of California.
Capt. Michael Shepard, a 63-year-old Agua Dulce resident, was killed in a collision that occurred around 11:15 a.m. on Jan. 23, on the northbound 14 Freeway just south of Sand Canyon Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.
According to the CHP accident report, the Caltrans vehicle — a GMC 3500 with a dump truck bed that was part of a sweeper operation — was traveling in the northbound center median when it was rear-ended by Shepard’s Jeep.
Shepard sustained fatal injuries, and the driver of the Caltrans vehicle suffered moderate injuries and was taken to Henry Mayo Memorial Hospital for treatment, according to the CHP.
Shepard’s widow, Catherine Shepard; their son, Clint Shepard; and their daughter, Conni Billes, are the plaintiffs in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed Friday, Sept. 13.
The suit seeks unspecified damages and alleges that the Caltrans driver violated a section of the state Vehicle Code designed to protect drivers like Shepard, and that there were insufficient signs that would have allowed him to drive safely past the dangerous condition.
A Caltrans representative did not immediately return a call requesting comment.
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