Vehicle hits 25 LA County sheriff’s academy recruits on run

Nov 16, 2022, 8:27 AM | Updated: 6:33 pm

WHITTIER, Calif. (AP) — The driver of an SUV veered into the wrong lane and plowed through dozens of Los Angeles County sheriff’s academy recruits running in formation during a training exercise early Wednesday, injuring 25 of the cadets, authorities said.

The most serious injuries included head trauma, broken bones and “loss of limb,” said Sheriff Alex Villanueva. He said five people were critically injured, four had moderate injuries and 16 had minor injuries.

“So far, it looks like it’s an accident, a horrific accident,” Villanueva said, adding that he was told the scene looked like the aftermath of an airplane wreck.

Running shoes and a backpack were strewn on the ground. Close by was also a 25 mph (40 kph) speed limit sign.

“There were so many bodies scattered everywhere in different states of injury that it was pretty traumatic for all individuals involved,” Villanueva said.

About 75 recruits, from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and several local police agencies, were running in formation in the street just before 6:30 a.m. in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier when the driver veered into the wrong lane and struck the runners before crashing into a nearby light pole, authorities said.

“Thank God for that light pole, because the vehicle ultimately hit it and stopped, as opposed to possibly hitting more recruits,” Capt. Patrick Macdonald of the academy said.

The driver was identified only as a 22-year-old man from suburban Diamond Bar who suffered a minor injury. The sheriff said a field sobriety test on the driver was negative.

Francisco Silva, who lives across the street from the crash site, said he was awakened by a loud bang as the car hit the pole. A few seconds later, he heard screaming.

He rushed to the window and recorded the scene on his cellphone.

“It was chaos,” he said. He saw injured recruits laying on the sidewalk, the grass and in the driveway that leads to his apartment building.

Silva described seeing blood, bodies in awkward positions and some people “not moving at all.”

Some uninjured recruits appeared to be frozen in shock but others took charge of helping the injured.

“I can hear these cadets yelling, ‘This one’s unresponsive, this one’s not moving,” he said, adding that some took off their shirts, possibly to use as tourniquets.

Silva said there have been other accidents on the street but none this serious and none involving Sheriff’s Department runners who use the street.

Silva didn’t see any skid marks indicating the car had tried to brake.

“They had no chance whatsoever,” Silva said of the recruits. “The car was like a bowling ball and these cadets were the pins.”

Assistant Chief Charlie Sampson of the California Highway Patrol, which is leading the crash investigation, said officials were looking at all possibilities, ranging from an intentional act to impaired driving.

The class of recruits was in their eighth week and had 14 more weeks to go.

“I am personally heart sick,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said, adding that she was focusing on the cadets who were injured to pull through this.

The recruits were running in four columns with two black-and-white radio cars and eight “road guards” wearing reflective vests, said Macdonald said. They had completed about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) of a typical, 3.5 mile (5.6 kilometer) training run and were wearing white T-shirts and green shorts, he said.

Deputies got help from a nearby county fire station, but also immediately transported some of the most badly injured directly to hospitals, possibly saving their lives, said county Fire Chief Anthony C. Marrone.

“Our hearts are with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s recruits injured this morning while training to serve their communities,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “Jennifer and I send our best wishes for their recovery and stand with their loved ones and colleagues at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department during this difficult time.”

___

Taxin reported from Orange, Calif., and Antczak reported from Los Angeles.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A crime scene is taped off at New Season Church in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Me...
Associated Press

Drive-by shooting injures 2 at funeral at Nashville church

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A drive-by shooting in Nashville on Saturday injured two people as they and others were walking out of church from the funeral of a woman who was fatally shot earlier this month, according to police. Metro Nashville Police Department spokesperson Don Aaron said the afternoon shooting occurred outside New Season Church, […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah, is pictured on Sept. 15, 2015. A woman died and a ...
Associated Press

Woman dies on hike in Utah’s Zion Park, husband rescued

A woman died and a man was rescued after they were caught in extreme cold weather while hiking in Utah's Zion National Park.
17 hours ago
FILE - Nick Fuentes, far-right activist, holds a rally at the Lansing Capitol, in Lansing, Mich., N...
Associated Press

Trump faulted for dinner with white nationalist, rapper Ye

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is renewing attention to his long history of turning a blind eye to bigotry after dining with a Holocaust-denying white nationalist and the rapper formerly known as Kanye West just days into his third campaign for the White House. Trump had dinner Tuesday at his Mar-a-Lago club […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

12-year-old dies in Russian Roulette; murder charges brought

A 12-year-old boy is dead after playing Russian Roulette with peers in Jackson, Mississippi, police say. Jackson’s Deputy Police Chief Deric Hearn identified the boy as Markell Noah, according to reports by Mississippi-based WLBT-TV. Following the death officers arrested two juveniles and one adult Friday. Police say the two juveniles are being charged with murder […]
17 hours ago
President Joe Biden visits a shop in Nantucket, Mass., Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Wal...
Associated Press

Biden, family hit Nantucket stores for some holiday shopping

NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — President Joe Biden went holiday shopping on the Massachusetts resort island where he spends Thanksgiving, patronizing smaller independently owned stores on what the retail industry has called “Small Business Saturday.” Biden, his wife, Jill, and daughter Ashley went from store to store on Main Street in downtown Nantucket, lingering at Polo […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

Rugby star and ALS campaigner Doddie Weir dies at 52

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — Doddie Weir, a former Scotland rugby player whose diagnosis with Lou Gehrig’s disease led to a widely praised campaign for more research into ALS, has died at the age of 52. The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) announced Weir’s death on Saturday. The lock played 61 times for Scotland and was famed […]
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Vehicle hits 25 LA County sheriff’s academy recruits on run