VALLEY VILLAGE (CBSLA) — The family of a Los Angeles county sheriff’s deputy who was killed Sunday after helping an elderly couple cross the street mourned their loss while remembering her kind heart.
Deputy Amber Joy Leist, 41, was a 12-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department assigned to the West Hollywood District. On Sunday morning, she was driving in Valley Village when she noticed a woman fall in the middle of a crosswalk. The deputy then got out of her car to help the couple.
“I’m trying to get my wife off, and she lifts my wife and we go to the other side and put her on the bench,” Richard Mehana said.
But as Leist went back to her car, she was fatally hit by an oncoming vehicle that detectives said had a green light.
“It’s scary that such a nice person would stop and help us, and then she got hit,” Mehana said. “It seems unfair that something like that should happen.”
Leist’s father, Daniel, said he was not surprised that she was helping someone else when she was killed.
“From a young girl, she was always one of those that stood up for those that were less fortunate, those who were vulnerable,” he said. “When she came onto the sheriff’s department, she took on that servant heart.”
Leist leaves behind two sons, a 16-year-old high school student and a 20-year-old currently serving in the United States Navy.
“You finished the race, and I’m so proud of you,” Leist’s father said. “You did good, sweetheart.”
A public memorial will be held 7 p.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Whitsett Avenue in Valley Village.