On October 15, at 11:45 p.m., 25 year old Devin Petelski was tragically killed at the junction of Glyndon Avenue and Venice Boulevard, in an incident involving a Los Angeles Police Department cruiser, that struck her vehicle with such force that it was spun around 180 degrees. The suspicious circumstances surrounding this incident involve eyewitness reports that suggest that the two officers involved, Eldridge (driver), and Vasquez, were practicing the dangerous activity that is known as “silent running.”
“Silent running” consists of officers driving their vehicles at night, with all lights, including headlights, and their sirens turned off, and is not a policy of LAPD. A close friend of Devin’s, Christopher Medak aims to bring public awareness to the practice of “silent running.”
The Mirror spoke to Mr. Medak who said that “four witnesses have stated that the police vehicle was traveling at about 60 miles per hour, without headlights, emergency lights, or a siren activated.” He also stated that since the accident “approximately 20 further witnesses had come forward with their stories regarding the incident. KPCC wire services stated that Lt. Paula Kreefft, a watch commander at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Division, said, before dawn on October 15, that the accident was “not a result of a police pursuit, or response to a call for service.” KPCC also quoted LAPD West Traffic Detective Jesus Ravega, in saying that the department hadn’t been able to determine the speed of the vehicles, but did confirm that the police car did not have sirens or emergency lights at the time of the collision, and that officers were not responding to a Code 3 call.
Mr. Medak told us that although it took at least 15 minutes for paramedics to arrive, eyewitnesses have stated that “approximately 10-14 police vehicles arrived at the scene within minutes,” and that there were other reports of bystanders being “harassed by attending officers,” and some were allegedly “warned to stay away.”
At Tuesday nights Mar Vista Community meeting, in an emotionally charged moment, Mr. Medak questioned newly appointed LAPD Chief Charlie Beck about the incident, and how he was going to address the dangerous practice of “silent running.” Chief Beck stated that the incident was “under investigation,” and that “inappropriate driving” by his officers will be “dealt with.” He also expressed his condolences to the family and friends of Miss Petelski. The Mirror will be following developments of this tragic incident, that took the young life of Devin Petelski.