Manhattan, NY – New York Police Officer Kimberly Lajara died in a fiery one-vehicle collision early Sunday morning.
The off-duty officer’s passenger, 32-year-old Oscar Monegro, was also killed in the blaze, the New York Post reported.
Officer Lajara, 24, was driving her 2016 Mercedes Benz along the Henry Hudson Parkway near 98th Street when the crash occurred at approximately 3:45 a.m.
According to investigators, the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed when it struck a median, slammed into a tree, and burst into flames, WABC reported.
The intense blaze left the bodies of the young officer and her passenger so badly burned, they were “unrecognizable,” a police source told the New York Post.
Investigators linked Officer Lajara to the vehicle using the registration information, and also found her purse inside the charred remains of the demolished car.
“I’ve never seen anything like that in my freaking life — a car mangled like that, destroyed,” witness Paul Vella told the New York Post. “It’s unbelievable…It’s sad.”
The exact cause of the collision remains under investigation.
Officer Lajara was assigned to the 121st Precinct on Staten Island, WABC reported.
“Rest In Peace Police Officer Lajara,” the precinct tweeted on Sunday. “You will be missed by your entire 121 Precinct Family.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also offered his condolences to Officer Lajara’s friends and coworkers.
“We’re mourning the loss of one of New York’s Finest today,” he tweeted. “We lost an NYPD Officer today after a terrible car crash early this morning. We send our deepest condolences to their family, friends and brothers and sisters in the NYPD.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of New York Police Officer Kimberly Lajara, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.