Local

Fallen firefighter killed in drunk driving crash

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Firefighters in the North Valley are honoring one of their own who died Sunday after a tragic crash. Andrew Maloney was riding his motorcycle in Los Banos when investigators say he was hit by a drunk driver.

Friends tell Action News, Maloney had an adventurous spirit and loved serving his community as a firefighter. But authorities say his life was cut short by a woman who was driving under the influence. And who witnesses say was also talking on her cell phone.

Flags are flying at half staff outside the fire station in Los Banos in honor of Andrew Maloney, who started his career more than a decade ago.

Capt. Mark Simmons said, "Every loss is tragic. This loss was extremely tragic to Cal Fire and Merced County Fire Department... it's one of those things that hit really close to home this time."

Friends say the 29 year old loved scuba diving and hiking and had even tackled the Appalachian Trail. He most recently worked at the fire station in Hornitos, and also helped educate the public through fire safety programs.

Capt. Mark Simmons said, "He was an all-around good person."

But Andrew's promising life was cut short Sunday when he died from injuries he suffered in a crash days earlier. The CHP says Andrew was riding his motorcycle on Highway 165 near Pioneer Road when 24 year old Amie Chick made a left turn right in front of him.

Officer Jesse Lopez said, "A chemical test was obtained, and she was arrested and book for suspicion of driving under the influence."

Chick has already bailed out of jail, but the CHP is still waiting for test results to see if she had any drugs in her system. A witness also reported she was talking on her cell phone at the time of the crash.

Bryan Aganza said, "It only takes one second to kill someone, and that's what happened."

Aganza is devastated by the loss of his longtime friend, and says he's never known anyone so dedicated to serving the community.

"His mission in life was to serve others," said Aganza. "This is a loss to our community. A major loss."

A memorial service for Andrew will be held Saturday at 11am at the fairgrounds in Los Banos. An account has also been set up at Chase bank to help his family with funeral expenses. You can make a donation at any branch, in care of Andrew Maloney.

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Tags:
los banos, merced county, dui, crimetracker, local, sara sandrik
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