By City News Service
CERRITOS – An off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was struck and killed by a passing vehicle on the 605 Freeway, after the deputy stopped his vehicle in the emergency lane, authorities said Sunday, Aug. 6.
Michael Leonard Haak, 52, had lived in Fullerton, according to the coroner’s office. Haak began his career with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in the fall of 1988 and was survived by his wife, three children and a sister, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported.
His boss at the Lakewood Station said deputies there have been hit with “overwhelming grief.” In 2015, Haak was honored for his service to nearby Bellflower as a motorcycle traffic officer, and was described as “always polite” as he wrote citations.
The California Highway Patrol said in a crash report that its initial investigation indicates that Haak was “presumably experiencing vehicle trouble” and walked into a traffic lane on the right side of the six-lane northbound 605 Freeway, between South Street and Artesia Boulevard.
He was hit by a car at 2:45 p.m. Saturday.
The other driver, a 54-year-old man from Buena Park, stayed at the scene and cooperated with investigators, the CHP said in a crash report.
The CHP reported the deputy was off-duty, assigned to the nearby Lakewood Station and was in his personal vehicle.
“Initial statements obtained at the scene indicate the deputy walked onto the traffic side of the vehicle and was struck by a motorist traveling north in the right lane,’ according to a CHP crash report.
Paramedics rushed Haak to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where he died from his injuries at 3:28 p.m. Saturday, according to the coroner’s office.
“I know many of you worked with Mike, and words alone will never be able to ease the overwhelming grief you must be feeling,” said Capt. James Wolak of the sheriff’s Lakewood station. “Please know that Mike loved being a deputy sheriff and lived a very full life.
“I was proud to witness the overwhelming response from the Lakewood Station in support of him and his family. “We have department personnel with his family offering support during this challenging time,” Wolak said.
“As we work through this devastating loss, our thoughts go out to the families and all those affected by this tragedy.”
The traffic crash is being investigated by the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs office.