Gardena Motorcycle Officer Dies After Collision in Harbor City

GARDENA (CNS) - A Gardena motorcycle officer died today from injuries he suffered in a collision with another vehicle in Harbor City, police said.

Officer Toshio Hirai, 34, was critically injured about 7:50 a.m. Wednesday at Western Avenue and 238th Street as he was on his way to work, according to fire and police officials.

Hirai, a husband and father of a 2-year-old son, was taken to Harbor- UCLA Medical Center, where he died, according to Gardena police.

“It is very difficult and it is very heartbreaking,” Gardena Police Department Chief Thomas Kang said at a Thursday night news conference outside the hospital. “I shed a lot of tears today as if Toshio was my own son. It's devastating for me.”

Hirai was a 12-year veteran of the police department and a member of its SWAT team.

The driver of the other vehicle stopped at the scene and cooperated with investigators, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, which was investigating the collision.

Neither alcohol nor drugs were suspected as factors in the crash, police said.

Donations to assist the officer's family can be made by visiting Gardena police Lt. Steve Prendergast said it is the only legitimate online donation site for the fallen officer, his wife Kristen and their son.

Checks made payable to the Gardena Police Officers' Association (GPOA) can be mailed to or dropped off at: Gardena Police Department, 1718 W. 162nd St., Gardena, California, 90247.

All donations are tax deductible.

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