2 killed in Diamond Bar crash involving former OC CEO, Whittier and La Habra city manager

DIAMOND BAR – A man and wife died late Sunday in a freeway crash involving a longtime public administrator who has served as Orange County’s Chief Executive Officer, as well city manager in Whittier and La Habra, authorities said.
Anubhai Patel, 66, and Shardaben Patel, 67, both of Anaheim, died in Sunday’s 9:08 p.m. crash on the southbound 57 Freeway, just north of Pathfinder Road, according to California Highway Patrol, Orange County coroner’s and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials.
There were sitting in a disabled 2006 Toyota Prius in the No. 3 lane, which was struck from behind by a 2008 Cadillac Escalade being driven by Thomas Mauk, 69, of Whittier, California Highway Patrol Officer C. Chen said in a written statement. Mauk’s wife was riding as a passenger in the SUV, which was traveling at about 60 mph in the carpool lane prior to the collision.
The Escalade had changed lanes from the carpool lane to the No. 1 lane, then again to the No. 2 lane, Chen said. Mauk then looked in his rear view mirror and behind him to check for traffic as he began transitioning into the No. 3 lane. Traffic was light at the time and conditions were dry, officials said.
“As he completed the lane change to the No. 3 lane, he looked ahead and observed a stopped vehicle in the No. 3 lane directly ahead of him,” Chen said.
Both Anubhai and Shardaben Patel died of their injuries, officials said. Shardaben Patel died at UC Irvine Medical Center, while Anubhai Patel was pronounced dead at the scene, CHP Sgt. Mike Dulong said.
Mauk and his wife were treated for apparently minor injuries, Chen said.
Mauk was not arrested or cited, Dulong said, although the investigation continues.
Mauk served as Whittier’s city manager from 1980 through 1999. He was La Habra’s city manager from 1999 to 2002, and he served as the chief executive officer for Orange County from 2004 to 2012. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Two dogs were inside Mauk’s SUV at the time of the crash, Dulong said. A puppy inside the SUV was OK, while the second dog could not be found.
Any witnesses to the crash are encouraged to contact the Baldwin Park office of the CHP at 626-338-1164.

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