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Woman Dies after Collision with Police Cruiser

Los Angeles:  A Brentwood woman has died after suffering major injuries in a traffic collision with a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) patrol car.

On Thursday, October 15, 2009, at about 11:55 p.m., a woman identified as 25-year-old Devin Petelski was driving her 1994 BMW northbound on Glyndon Avenue at Venice Boulevard when an LAPD police car traveling eastbound on Venice Boulevard crashed into the driver’s side of her car, causing her to be seriously injured.  Department personnel administered first aid and CPR to Petelski until Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics arrived at the location.

The impact also caused the police car to spin around in a southeast direction and run into a traffic sign and tree, injuring the two officers in the car.  The officer who was driving suffered a fractured hand and lacerations to his elbow.  The passenger officer was treated for abrasions and general pain.

Paramedics transported Petelski and the two officers to a local hospital.  Petelski remained on life support until October 17, 2009, when she was pronounced dead at 9:24 a.m. by her attending physician.  The officers were treated at the hospital and released.

The exact cause and circumstances surrounding the collision are still under investigation by LAPD West Traffic Division detectives. 

Anyone with information about this collision is asked to contact LAPD West Traffic Detective Jesus Ravega at 213-473-0236.  During off-hours, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247).  Callers may also text “Crimes” with a cell phone or log on to www.lapdonline.org and click on Web tips.  When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with “LAPD.”  Tipsters may remain anonymous.


the police had there lights off and struck her she was driving perfectly normal crazy that they dont mention that and that those officers are alive good job guy way to protect and serve hope you dont get much sleep thinking about killing an innocent girl your the one who should be on trial not all these other people

Devin Petelski's death needs to be investigated by an INDEPENDENT committee, and LAPD must put an end to the practices of "Silent Running", handicapped citizens' beatings (such as Donovan Jackson-Chavis) and cover-ups.
Last time I was in LA it was in flames after the Rodney King beating-fueled riots. You people have been getting away with MURDER - LITERALLY - for the last 75 years. Enough is enough.

This is a crime. Commited by the police officer. It is entirely evident and should be punished as a manslaughter case by those ignoring their responsibilty to employ reason when upholding the law.

I would like to feel confident that the truth will come out from the police department itself (rather than via lawyers and courts) about Devin's tragic and untimely death, but I doubt it. Eyewitness accounts about police conduct at the scene indicate Silent Running at extremely high speeds, no help for Devin from cops while she waited almost 15 minutes for an ambulance, and all the signs of a cover-up on the part of the police. Shame, shame, shame on you if any of these things are true...we all really want to admire and trust you.........

The circumstances should be under investigation. The cruiser was "silent running", i.e., driving at high speed with neither lights nor siren. The officers should be charged with manslaughter and that practice (when used to get back to HQ and clock out) should be ceased.

If i had been driving with my lights off going 60mph and hit someone that ended up with a death.... i know i would've been arrested on the spot. I see you cops doing this maneuver all the time and now look what happened?? I have lost faith in the Rampart Division. Just Pathetic. Even when i was kid you guys would drive around acting like you could do whatever you want. Just plain pathetic. I hope the driver at the minimum, never works as a cop again.

Whether or not the officers are guilty of any wrongdoing will be determined, and the punishment should/will probably fit the crime, if any was indeed committed. However, the call for these officers to be burned at the stake is a bit hysterical. Sad as this tragic event is, it should serve as a reminder to all officers to tread with caution. Take this with a grain of sand, if you will, but your response to calls should be measured by the actual level of emergency, ie officer needs help, etc. The majority of calls that officers respond to do not merit you risking your life, the life of your partner, and yes, of course, the public at large. Tunnel-vision is a fact of life on the job. But stop and think about it for a second or two, the idea that you get paid to put your life on the line for a complete stranger abounds in this "CSI" drama-television-viewer land of the naive. But they (the naive and ignorant) will be the first to cast the proverbial stone when the perceive any error or omission on your part. After all, according to them, you are not allowed to make a mistake, have a traffic accident, or fire you sidearm in self-defense, etc, etc. All is perfect in TV land.

Anyone see the need for due process here, or should we just convict the officers based on bloggers' hate and supposed 75 years of "getting away" with things? And if you're using television lingo ("silent running," "back to HQ to clock out") to show your reputed inside expertise on police operations, you've lost almost all credibility at the onset.

A tragedy for those involved, hopefully the analysis of this incident will not be clouded by the bias evident in the previous posts.

With so much ignorant commentaries and opinions on this blog, it brings to mind the old saying: Better to be thought of as an idiot, then to write on a blog and remove all doubt.

When a driver enters a boulevard from a stop sign, and is hit broadside by a vehicle on that boulevard, it is irreleveant if the the vehicle was an inter-galactic spaceship, a soccer mom's van, a police car, or a cyclist on the bike lane. The driver entering the boulevard is at fault.

That was a preliminary statement based on traffic law. As far as the specifics of the above case, once the investigation is done and all the lab tests are reviewed, we will know the result.

Until then, stop with the conspiracy theories and uneducated opinions. Both the deceased woman's family and the involved officers deserve it.

I don't believe that there is any defense for ANYONE driving at that speed on a residential or business street, with no lights, no siren, and NO HEADLIGHTS. Call it Silent Running, call it carelessness, call it joyriding, call it plain stupidity, call it your grandma's underpants if you want. Put down people for expressing mistrust, sadness, outrage and shock, if that makes you feel good in your desire to defend an indefensible act. This was supposed to be the dead woman's fault, that she was driving at a normal speed, safely, and didn't see the speeding police car that had no lights on in the dark? Please. Go try on your grandma's underpants, I am sure they will fit you just fine. Meanwhile, I am sure that you and your sarcasm will rest just fine tonight because you are both superior to the rest of us, mere mortals. P.S., I would be willing to bet that the tests will show that the police car was speeding, left no tire marks, killed a young woman, and that there were eyewitnesses that saw that the police were NOT the ones that offered help, but rather an off-duty EMT and the other passenger in that car. I would also be willing to bet that these officers who are responsible for the reckless killing of this woman will get a slap on the wrist, and be able to go back to their jobs. Also, they will get the added benefit of STILL BEING ABLE TO LIVE.

Dear B&WOp,
Travelling at high speed and driving at night are considered extenuating circumstances. Any other citizen would be held accountable for such reckless behavior and officers of the LAPD should be as well. No one should be above the law.

There is not enough information to accuse the LAPD of wrong doing. Not that I am defending them but it is not clear what has happened.
It happened late at night clearly there was no traffic as to impede the officer from swerving away from the incoming car. The fact that she was killed also shows that they were driving faster than the speed limit posted on that street. So, it would seem that the officer (and the passenger officer) was distracted as well. Has anyone looked to see if ANY of the driver's were on their cell phones at the time?
The young lady that was killed is clearly a tragedy and my condolences go out to her friends and family. I wonder to myself why she didn't see the car coming? She got hit on the driver's side so she was probably making a right turn and would have been looking to her left. Even with the lights off, a squad car is easy to spot. There should have been adequate street lighting up and down Venice, enough to make out a car coming down. I hope that she was not driving while impaired or sleepy.

Clearly, the officers involved will have many sleepless nights in their future and lots of counseling will be involved for all of the families. I will keep you in my prayers.

This is definitely a tragedy for all involved. Cooler heads should prevail until the investigation is completed. I'm sure that the involved officers have very heavy hearts and would change things if they could. Although driving on a public street with your vehicle headlights is normally, generally and usually not appropriate, there could have been some exigent circumstances in play. I see some of you bloggers find it necessary to to place ALL the blame solely on the officers. However, may I suggest that before you nail them to the cross that that you also consider other contributing factors such as 1) COMPSTAT, 2) Management designed Compressed Work Schedule that puts officers on and off duty at a whim rather than putting them on a platoon system (this leads to exhaustion & diminished thought process), and 3) The Pacific Area Captain who cares only about numbers and his bonus money, and certainly not about the effectiveness or feelings of the officers under his command. God bless Ms. Petelski and the involved officers.

Kris Feldman,

You write, "Meanwhile, I am sure that you and your sarcasm will rest just fine tonight..." after telling the readers to try on their grandmothers' underwear?

Where in this article does it state the officers were driving with no lights, that they did not render aid, and what does Rampart have to do with it (from Joe's post)? Are we going back to the time-tested and, unfortunately, time-worn process of trying people in the present based on perceived sins of the past?

Screw the past...her friends, my friends, were in a car behind her and witnessed the entire incident...however, somehow their testimonies were not needed.

Why do I suspect that the most recent post by "Anonymous" is pure fiction? As if a major T.C. involving a Police vehicle and a civilian would take place and the responding officers wouldn't seek out witnesses? Give me a break. You have been watching too many episodes of The Shield. And if you really wanted to be heard, then why not post your real nameon your post and go to the West Traffic Division and make a complaint and tell them what you witnessed?

Anonymous..... You're a complete fraud! I agree, Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to much TV.

No, police did not administer CPR, apparently it was one of the eyewitnesses who did this; all the cops on the scene were attending to their buddies who were mildly injured. That's what witnesses on the scene say unanimously.

can you say cover up.

Please stop the practice of "silent running" LAPD. One senseless death is one too many. The LAPD has come a long way to interface with the many communities of LA and it's citizens to make much needed changes to "outdated" and "dangerous" practices. Do the right thing.
Outlawing the "silent running" practice that recently killed the beautiful young Devin Petelski would be the right time for Chief Beck to show he really does care about the safety and protection of the citizens of LA.

I've been on the job for 21 years and never heard the term "Silent Running". Who invented it and what does it mean?

I've been an LAPD Officer for 10 years and I have never heard the term "silent running". I feel for this young woman and her family. I am also sure the two officers involved in the traffic collision feel horrible no matter who was at fault. There will be an investigation and let me tell you the department does not have these officers backs. If they are at fault the department will hang them out to dry. If they aren't then I'm sure some member of the public will claim cover up. If you are not aware the LAPD has a new code 3 policy that is very liberal in its permissions for an officer to use lights and sirens. It relies on the officer's good judgment and articulation of the need for the response. It also relies on the officer's due regard for public safety which is what State law requires. It insures officers get to where they are needed most as quickly and safely as possible. There is no practice of "silent running". I dont know who was at fault and neither do most if not all of the posters on this blog. I've seen plenty of people fail to yield to lights and sirens and plenty of drivers fail to notice other traffic on the road. I have also seen officers who over drive. Conspiracy theories aside I believe the investigation will turn up the truth of the matter and a ending will come to this sad event.

Very well said, ABC Officer. I have over 20 years with LAPD (almost entirely in the field) and I have never heard of that phrase "silent running" either.

Maybe that new Code 3 policy needs to be revisited.

Into my second decade as a Police Officer, and have never heard of "silent running". To much TV rotts your brain....I think "ABC Officer" said it best.
My prayers go out to the family of Devin Petelski , and the Officers involved.

The traffic sign" that the police car ran into was not just any traffic sign, it was a Stop sign.

It looks like the police had the right of way since they were heading eastbound on Venice blvd

The poor woman probably didn't see the police car which she would not have seen if its true that the cops were driving without their lights or sirens on as many of you seem to be sure of.

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