Off-Duty Sheriff’s Deputy Dies After Tire Smashes Through Windshield on Los Angeles Freeway
The same tire also caused a second accident that severely injured another deputy
An off-duty Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy was killed in a freeway accident involving an errant tire that also sparked a separate incident that severely injured a second deputy, according to local reports.
Deputy Jeffrey McKee, 35, was off-duty and driving on Interstate 5 Sunday morning when a tire crashed through his windshield around 5:30 a.m., the California Highway Patrol said, according to the Associated Press.
The tire had reportedly come off a Toyota Tundra traveling in the opposite direction, and it bounced into McKee's lane before striking the roof and windshield of his Volvo S40.
McKee — who reportedly suffered head injuries and died at the scene — was headed home from work following a shift at the Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Daily News reported. He was a 15-year veteran of the department.
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"We are deeply saddened with this tragic loss of Deputy Jeff McKee," James Wheeler, president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, told the outlet in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and our law enforcement family."
Meanwhile, the same tire that killed McKee was also the catalyst behind a second incident that injured Deputy Norman Anpree, the Daily News reported.
Anpree, 57, was driving home from his shift at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center when the tire, having already struck McKee's Volvo, bounced back to the southbound lane and hit Anpree's Toyota Sienna, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Lopez told the Daily News.
Anpree got out of his car, and shortly after, his Sienna was reportedly rear-ended, causing it to hit him.
In a statement to the Daily News, the sheriff's department said the deputy was injured, and that he "faces a long road to recovery."
"We are very sad to announce that one of our deputies passed away as a result of the traffic collision," the statement said. "A second deputy was injured as part of the traffic collision. As a result of his injuries, he faces a long road to recovery… Our hearts are heavy and saddened over the passing of our partner, friend, dad, and husband. We send prayers and many blessings to the family during their time of grief."
A GoFundMe page arranged for the deputies by ALADS CARES (Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, Cops and Relatives Emergency Support) is currently raising money on behalf of the men.
"ALADS CARES is currently collecting donations for two deputies who were involved in a tragic vehicle accident on the I-5 early Sunday morning, one of whom died and the other who was severely injured and transported to the hospital," the page read.
A GoFundMe page for McKee, meanwhile, has since raised more than $45,000 for the married father of two's family. Those interested in donating can do so here.
A spokesperson for the California Highway Patrol did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.