An LA County Lifeguard stationed in Santa Monica died this weekend in an incident that occurred while he was off duty.
Ocean Lifeguard Derek Traeger, 28, died in the early morning hours of Sunday, Aug. 14, on the northbound 405 freeway, south of Artesia Boulevard in Torrance, according to information provided by the LA County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner. His cause of death was listed as “blunt trauma.”
The announcement of his death on social media drew hundreds of heartfelt messages, describing him as “kind and so thoughtful” with a “mellow” nature and “huge, friendly smile.”
Traeger had been a lifeguard for six years, according to a social media post by the verified Twitter account @lacolifeguards. LA County Lifeguards PIO Pono Barnes confirmed Traeger was stationed in the City of Santa Monica, in the area of beach north of the Santa Monica Pier.
“OL Traeger understood better than most what it means to wear the red trunks. His passion for life, art, the ocean, and his lifeguard family was evident in every moment he lived,” the Twitter announcement stated. It went on to add: “We extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends, & colleagues of OL Traeger.”