Off-duty detective fatally struck by car after helping elderly woman cross Los Angeles street

LOS ANGELES (CNN) - An off-duty detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department died when she was hit by a car just moments after helping an elderly woman cross the street.

Authorities say 41-year-old Detective Amber Leist was stopped at a red light Sunday morning in Los Angeles when she noticed a female pedestrian fall while trying to cross the street. She got out and helped the woman to safety.

As Leist was crossing the street to get back to her car, she was hit by a vehicle. The driver stopped and attempted to render aid, according to Los Angeles Police Commander Marc Reina.

Leist was taken to the hospital, where she died of her injuries.

Today, the Los Angeles county Sheriff's Department is grieving. Our hearts are broken as we begin to process the sudden...

Posted by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sheriff Alex Villanueva says it’s a sad day for the department, but Leist’s last action of helping someone is a good example for other officers.

"We always, with humor, joke about helping the old lady across the street. Well, this cost our deputy her life while doing exactly that. That example she set, we want everyone to be able to emulate and hold her in high regard for that," Villanueva said.

Officers saluted during a Sunday night procession for Leist, as her body was transported from the hospital to the coroner’s office.

"She was an outstanding detective who would lead by example, and she definitely led by example through her act of kindness. We consider this an on-duty death," Villanueva said.

Leist was a 12-year veteran of the sheriff’s department who worked as a school resource officer and a patrol officer before reaching the rank of detective. She leaves behind two sons, ages 17 and 20, the older of whom is on active duty with the Navy.

Officials say the driver involved stayed at the scene and cooperated with authorities. Fault has not been determined, Reina says.

The incident is being investigated as an accident at this point.

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