One year after pleading no contest to felony gross vehicular manslaughter for a crash that killed a veteran Los Angeles police officer in Beverly Hills, a dump truck driver Thursday had the charge reduced to a misdemeanor and was placed on five years probation.
The charge against Robert Maldonado, 49, stemmed from the March 7, 2014, crash that killed Officer Nicholas Choung Lee near Robert Lane and Loma Vista Drive.
Maldonado pleaded no contest to the felony charge in April 2017, with the caveat that the charge would be reduced to a misdemeanor if he had no new arrests or convictions over the following year.
In court Thursday in San Fernando, Judge David W. Stuart said Maldonado had met the terms of the plea deal and reduced the felony charge to a misdemeanor.
“I’m very happy with this outcome, although it’s a very tragic case that a police officer has been lost,” Maldonado’s attorney, Andrew Flier, said. “We wish the best for the Lee family.”
An investigation by the California Highway Patrol determined that Maldonado — who owns a dump truck company — failed to properly maintain and inspect the truck as required by his carrier permit and that the vehicle’s brakes failed, causing it to crash into Lee’s cruiser, Deputy District Attorney Jack Garden said after the case was filed in March 2015.
Lee, a 16-year veteran of the department, was pronounced dead at the scene. His female partner, who was just three months out of the police academy, was hospitalized overnight.
Lee had worked assignments in the Van Nuys, Wilshire and Hollywood areas for the LAPD. Hundreds of mourners, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Gov. Jerry Brown, attended the 40-year-old officer’s funeral service.
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