A Pacoima woman who was under the influence of cocaine when she killed an LAPD motorcycle cop with her SUV faces 15-years-to-life in prison when she is sentenced Oct. 30 for the death of the officer who had dedicated his career to fighting drunken driving.
Qaneak Shaney Cobb, 37, pleaded no contest Thursday in Van Nuys to second-degree murder, according to Deputy District Attorney Garrett Dameron.
Cobb’s Chevrolet Blazer struck Officer Christopher Cortijo’s motorcycle from behind while he was stopped at a red light at Lankershim Boulevard and Saticoy Street in Sun Valley on April 5, 2014, while he was en route to assist another officer with a DUI stop, the prosecutor said.
She was driving more than 60 mph before she started to apply the brakes, Dameron said, noting that the Blazer was traveling at 53 mph at the time of impact, which left the officer trapped between the Cobb’s SUV and a Honda Accord that was in front of him. He died of his injuries four days later.
Cortijo was twice named officer of the year and was credited with being involved in the arrests of more than 3,000 suspected drunken drivers in the San Fernando Valley.
The 51-year-old former Marine had been nearing retirement from the police force and had agreed to work on what was supposed to be a day off, Dameron said.
Thousands of uniformed officers joined relatives and friends at his funeral at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. A year after his death, Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian and LAPD officers were on hand as a sign was unveiled that names the intersection of Van Nuys Boulevard and Arminta Street as “Officer Chris Cortijo Memorial Square” in his honor.
Cobb, who has remained behind bars since the crash, had been set to go on trial later this month. She could have faced up to 25 years to life in state prison had she been convicted as charged, the prosecutor said.
As a result of Cobb’s plea, two other charges against her — a felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and a misdemeanor count of possession of cocaine — are expected to be dismissed.
— Staff and wire reports