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25 La County Sheriff’s and Police Recruits Hit by a Driver During Training; 5 Are Serious

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Los Angeles: According to investigators, five individuals were badly injured after a driver “driving the wrong way” in an SUV struck 25 Los Angeles County sheriff’s and police recruits on a run Wednesday morning.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said recruits assigned to its STAR Explore Training Academy were attacked at approximately 6:30 a.m. PT in Whittier, roughly 15 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. According to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, they were reacting to a “mass casualty catastrophe.”

At a news conference, Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesperson Capt. Sheila Kelliher said, “They were sprinting, completing their morning training exercise when this person ran into them.”

In an update, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva stated that five persons were in serious condition, one of whom was on a ventilator. Four recruits were injured moderately, while 16 were injured minorly.

All wounded recruits were sent to local hospitals. According to him, some of the most serious injuries were head trauma, broken bones, and limb loss.

“We’re really dealing with some life-changing injuries for some of the most badly damaged recruits,” Villanueva explained. “To say the least, this is pretty strange.” I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of this.

“It appeared to be an aviation wreck.” “There were so many bodies spread about in various states of wounded that it was quite traumatic for everyone concerned,” he added.

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Villanueva noted that the class included recruits for the police departments of Bell, Glendale, Pasadena, El Segundo, and UCLA. Two recruits were from Bell, two from Glendale, and one from Pasadena. The remaining injured were recruits for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies received assistance from a neighboring county fire station, but they also promptly transported some of the most seriously injured people to hospitals, potentially saving their lives, according to county Fire Chief Anthony C. Marrone.

The driver, a 22-year-old man from Diamond Bar, suffered minor injuries and was brought to a nearby hospital. The motorist was arrested and “waiting for additional investigation,” according to authorities.

Multiple recruits with LA County sheriff's department struck by car

According to Villanueva, the driver was not impaired based on the results of a field sobriety test, and the cause of the accident is unknown. The vehicle was in a southbound lane before crossing into a northbound lane, and arriving officers thought the vehicle was traveling at 30 to 40 miles per hour.

Capt. Pat MacDonald of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department training division said two black and white radio cars were serving as safety vehicles for the group, and eight road guards wearing fluorescent vests were there.

Villanueva stated that several of those impacted were in the back of the formation and had “no chance” of avoiding injury before the vehicle collided with a light post.

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“Thank God for that light pole because the truck eventually hit it and stopped instead of hitting more recruits,” McDonald added.

“Our hearts go out to the recruits of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who were hurt this morning while training to serve their communities,” stated Gov. Gavin Newsom in a statement.

“During this difficult time, Jennifer and I express our best wishes for their recovery and stand with their loved ones and colleagues at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.”

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