In Whittier crash, 25 LA County Sheriff’s recruits were hurt; driver is being sought

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When an SUV struck a group of runners close to a sheriff’s training academy in the Whittier region, several recruits with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department suffered injuries. The motorist had been stopped.

The car struck a line of 75 cadets who were sprinting. The Los Angeles County Fire Department reports that the collision injured 25 recruits. All patients were transported to local hospitals, which are numerous. The UC Irvine Medical Center and St. Francis Medical Center received the worst injury victims.

The California Highway Patrol identified the driver as a Diamond Bar, California, male in his twenties.

At a news conference on Wednesday, sheriff Alex Villanueva stated, “Tragedy struck our agency.”

According to firefighters, 14 persons had minor injuries, four had “moderate” injuries, five were in critical condition, and five had severe injuries.

At around 6:30 in the morning, a collision was reported close to Mills Avenue and Trumball Street. A class of recruits has been given to the STAR Explore Training Academy.

Sheriff Villanueva responded that this is “extremely strange, to say the least,” when asked if he had ever witnessed a catastrophe like this in his career.

According to Villanueva, the SUV’s driver passed a breathalyser test for alcohol.

The group of injured trainees comprises two representatives from each of the Bell and Glendale police departments and one from the Pasadena Police Department, he continued, adding that the training session included recruits from several law enforcement organisations. The remainder were all cadets in the sheriff’s office.

Villanueva stated, “It appears to be an accident—a terrible accident.”

According to officials, the speed of the car at the moment was between 30 and 40 mph. Villanueva added that some recruits present at the scene claimed to have heard the car accelerate before it struck the group of runners.

“On Mills Avenue, we had the sheriff’s cadets jogging in formation. We had a car travelling in the south. For reasons we’re still figuring out and looking into, it crossed over into opposing lanes and hit several cadets “said Charlie Sampson, assistant chief of the CHP, at a press conference on Wednesday.

A nearby resident claimed that the cries for rescue woke him up.

Francisco Silva, a local, described it as “one of those awful screams of terror and horror.” “It seemed so horrible,” the author said.

At the scene, paramedics set up a triage area and took the injured—many of whom were reportedly in critical condition—to hospitals for treatment.

Captain Pat McDonnell of the LASD said, “This was a typical run that we do during the 22-week programme that we have.” “They continued their run. When they reached Mills Road, they turned north while using safety vehicles to block oncoming traffic.”

That is when the SUV struck the group of runners, according to McDonnell. He added that the car hit a light pole on the east side of the street before coming to a stop.

Finding each victim is the hardest part, according to retired fire captain Rick Godinez of the Los Angeles City Fire Department, who spoke to CBSLA on Wednesday morning. First responders are using red, yellow, and green tarps to classify the victims.

Red tarps, according to Godinez, are used for people who must go to the hospital first.

There are 75 recruits in the class, according to Villanueva.

According to Godinez, first responders will start contacting hospitals to begin diverting the victims to various facilities.

Investigations into the crash’s circumstances were ongoing. On Wednesday night, police executed a search warrant at the driver’s home.

In response to the tragedy, law enforcement agencies from all over the Southland started expressing their condolences to the sheriff’s office right away.

The Pomona Police Department tweeted, “We are praying for the LASD recruits involved in today’s accident in Whittier.”

The deputies’ union, the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, declared it was keeping an eye on the developing situation.

The union tweeted, “We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for the injured cadets and their families.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger of Los Angeles County said in a statement, “I was shocked to learn that a motorist struck a group of young cadets from the sheriff’s academy as they were out for a morning training run. These people are the future of law enforcement; they are incredibly brave, and I have the utmost respect for them for wanting to help the people in their communities. I’m keeping a close eye on this incident because it’s tragic and senseless. I truly hope that nobody suffered any major injuries.”

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