FILLMORE, Calif. – No penalty will be imposed to a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy for causing the death of a victim on a deadly crash while apparently suffering a seizure.
Operator Cedarland, last December, was involved in a mishap and it was proven that he was apparently suffering a seizure. He ran over the victim, identified as Sergio Mendez, a retired Marine and Iraq war veteran. Mendez was seated in a chair when Cedarland’s SUV crashed through the building and pinned him against a wall.
It just happened that Cedarland, an off-duty sheriff’s deputy in Fillmore apparently fell asleep at the wheel of his SUV, crashed into a Starbucks and killed an ex-Marine.
The victim was a 30-year-old Sergio Mendez, who was an Iraq war veteran and had enlisted in the National Guard.
Authorities said that the mishap took place a little after 7 o’clock in the evening when Michael Cedarland, who has been with the sheriff’s department for seven years, lost control of his truck and went 300 feet off the road and crashed into the building located at 600 block of Ventura Street.
The car smashed through the east wall of the store, plowed through the customer lobby area and finally rested at the front door. Mendez who was seated along the path was pinned between the vehicle and a wall, according to investigators.
Authorities said that testing the operator did not show the use of any drugs or alcohol that might have caused his erratic driving.
An employee of a pizza place next door, Vishva Bandhu said that the impact of the crash was like an earthquake. When it was over, he saw that the victim was lying on the floor as he was struck between the wall and the truck.
Bandhu recounted that one woman was trying to assist Mendez by supporting his head but it was too late. The veteran was already unconscious.
Firefighters had to use The Jaws of Life was used by the firefighters to get Mendez out. He suffered multiple internal injuries and was immediately delivered to Ventura County Medical Center. However, during emergency surgery, he expired.
Richard Gonzalez, a friend of Mendez said that the victim came from a war and only to die in Fillmore. He will surely be missed by all his friends.
Two other customers, identified as Jose Iraheta of Lancaster and Thomas Michaels of Piru, were treated for minor injuries and released.
Cedarland, age 30, was also taken to the hospital due to the strong impact of the crash, but he was not injured.
Authorities reported that Cedarland was on his way to visit a friend going westbound on Highway 126 when he fell asleep at the wheel. The impact of the crash was so strong that officials had to red-tag the building. The cause of the crash was investigated.
After an investigation which took a year, authorities determined Cedarland was not at fault as he was actually undergoing a seizure while on the wheels.
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