A candlelight vigil is planned for tonight in Valley Village to honor Detective Amber Leist of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. Leist was fatally struck by a vehicle in Valley Village on Sunday after she helped a woman who had fallen in an intersection get to safety.
The vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the intersection of Whitsett Avenue and Riverside Drive, which is where the accident occurred.
“Right in the middle of the intersection, she stops, and she came, (and) my wife is too heavy to lift by myself and (Leist) just lifted her up,” said Richard Mehana, the husband of the woman Leist helped, in an interview with NBC4.
Leist was returning to her vehicle when she was struck. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, the LAPD said.
She was a 12-year-veteran of the department, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.
Detective “Leist leaves behind her parents and two sons, one 20-years- old and the second, 17-years-old,” Villanueva said at a news conference at the LASD West Hollywood station on Sunday evening. “The 20-year-old son is on active duty with the U.S. Navy and we were able to reach him,” he said.
“It’s one of those things that, when it did happen, what was she doing? She was helping somebody. That’s a quintessential deputy sheriff,” Villanueva said. “We are shocked and stunned by the sudden loss of a family member.”
Sheriff’s deputies and representatives of other law enforcement agencies escorted Leist’s body from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to the coroner’s office Sunday evening, sheriff’s officials said.
“I got her name on paper and I wanted to call the deputy sheriffs and write a card of condolences,” Mehana told ABC7. “I never met the woman. I wasn’t even introduced. She came out of no place. Very loving, very nice.”
The driver who hit the deputy stayed at the scene to render help, the LAPD said.
Leist was off-duty when she was struck, but Villanueva said the incident would be treated as an on-duty occurrence.
“She made the ultimate sacrifice, and she knew that going in, she knew that. And I couldn’t be more prouder,” Daniel Leist, Amber’s father, told NBC4. “Her life ended as she lived her life — serving others.”