BEVERLY HILLS—Roberto Maldonado, the 46-year-old truck driver who killed LAPD Officer Nicholas Lee in Beverly Hills last year when his truck slammed into Lee’s squad car, was charged on Monday, March 2 with one count of gross vehicular manslaughter.
Maldonado, a Pacoima resident and owner of a dump truck company, was driving his truck on March 7, 2014 when his brakes allegedly failed and the truck collided with a police cruiser driven by Officer Nicholas Lee. According to a Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office statement, “Officer Lee sustained fatal injuries as a result of the collision on Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills.”
After nearly a year-long investigation, Maldonado was arrested on February 27 by California Highway Patrol officers on a felony warrant. He was released on Saturday after posting a $50,000 bond.
The California Highway Patrol investigation determined that the truck’s brakes failed because Maldonado failed to properly maintain and inspect the truck as required by his carrier permit.
Deputy District Attorney Jack Garden with the Crimes Against Peace Officers Unit is prosecuting the case. If convicted, Maldonado faces up to six years in state prison.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck described the collision as a “terrible tragedy.”
He said in a statement, “We hope this arrest can bring some small piece of closure to the family,” he added, “Officer Nick Lee was a great cop and a great man. The LAPD is forever grateful for the 16 years he spent protecting our great city. We will never forget him or his sacrifice.”
Maldonado is scheduled to be arraigned on March 20 at the Los Angeles County Superior Court in San Fernando, Department S. His case number is PA083072.