Watch CBS News

Manhattan Beach officer Chad Swanson killed in 405 Freeway crash in Carson

Manhattan Beach police officer killed in multi-vehicle crash on 405 Freeway
Manhattan Beach police officer killed in multi-vehicle crash on 405 Freeway 04:13

A 35-year-old Manhattan Beach Police Department officer died while on his way to work Wednesday morning.

Chad Swanson, who was with the department for 13 years, was thrown from his motorcycle after a vehicle unsafely changed lanes on the 405 Freeway, police said. 

Paramedics rushed the critically injured officer to the hospital where he later died. 

Officer Chad Swanson died after a multi-vehicle crash on the 405 Freeway.  Manhattan Beach PD

The crash was reported about 5:15 a.m. and occurred on the northbound 405 Freeway in the Carson area.

"The entire Manhattan Beach community is mourning the loss of an officer who dedicated his career to ensuring the safety and well-being of our residents," said Manhattan Beach Mayor Richard Montgomery. "His fearless contributions to our community and beyond were marked by bravery, integrity, and an unwavering commitment to duty."  

Lt. Steve Carapia of the California Highway Patrol said the department had its specialized unit out at the crash site to investigate; flying drones and collecting evidence to determine exactly what happened. 

"At this time, we haven't determined exactly which vehicle hit who or what, but that will be through our investigation. We don't want to rush this," said Carapia.

"This is something we are going to be very, very methodical (about) and we just want to slow everything down so we don't miss anything. We owe it to the officer, to the victims, to the Manhattan Beach Police Department, we owe it to the community to make sure we are thorough in this investigation."

All northbound lanes on 405 Freeway were shut down in Carson while authorities investigated the scene.   

Manhattan Beach Police Department identify officer killed in 405 Freeway crash 04:32

Swanson attended the three-day, Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas when the 2017 mass shooting took place. Swanson was shot in his arm, while his MBPD coworker, part of the department group that went to the festival, died from her gunshot wound.

It was reported in a 2017 Daily Breeze article that when Swanson heard gunfire at the concert, he ran toward the crowd, looking for victims who needed help.

"I just wanted to try to help as many people as I could," Swanson told the Daily Breeze. "At a certain point, we realized that there were no more people in the concert venue that were alive that we could help. We canvassed the whole area to make sure we didn't miss anybody."

In 2016, Swanson was part of a group of four MBPD officers awarded the Life Saving Award at the Medal of Valor Ceremony for saving the life of a burglary suspect who was bleeding out from his self-inflicted wound. Doctors at Harbor General Hospital credited the officers' actions with saving the man's life.

At a Wednesday afternoon press conference, the Manhattan Beach Police Department shared brief details of Swanson's life and service, saying they are grieving and hurting. 

"He loved riding his motor. Most importantly he loved his wife and three boys. He had an infectious smile and was always positive. He was simply a joy to work with," said MBPD Lt. Kelly Benjamin. 

"Chad was an important member of our department. He was an important member of our community. We're hurting. We are grieving. This is just awful."

Manhattan Beach community mourns loss of Officer Chad Swanson, killed in crash on 405 Freeway 03:26

Throughout the evening, Manhattan Beach community members and officers from surrounding law enforcement agencies could be seen stopping at the department to pay their respects to the fallen officer. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.