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25 LA Sheriff Recruits Injured After Car Crashed Into Group Training Run In South Whittier

A dark SUV at a stop on a sidewalk has a severely crumpled hood.
An SUV involved in a morning crash Wednesday is examined by law enforcement. Officials said the driver of the vehicle that crashed into a training run for law enforcement recruits had a negative field sobriety test.
(David McNew
/
Getty Images)
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More than two dozen law enforcement recruits were injured Wednesday morning when a car struck an even larger group out for a training run in South Whittier right around sunrise.

Authorities said the runners were largely recruits for the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, with some trainees from other departments. The crash took place near the LASD's STARS Explorer Training Academy.

Five of those struck are in critical condition at hospitals — one of them is on a ventilator. Four other people are in moderate and stable condition, and 16 suffered minor injuries, according to authorities.

What We Know About The Crash

The 25 recruits were struck by a car which crossed over from the opposite side of Mills Road north of Telegraph Road. A 22-year old driver was taken into custody. Authorities said the man's field sobriety test was negative, and the cause of the crash is unknown.

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All but 10 of the 75 trainees on the run were from the Sheriff's department, officials said. The others were from local departments including Bell, Glendale, Pasadena, El Segundo, and UCLA.

The collision took place around 6:30 a.m., basically the same time as sunrise. Department staff say the recruits were running in formation and shepherded by two black and white safety vehicles and eight people guarding the road wearing reflective safety vests. 

What We Know About The Injuries

Sheriff Alex Villanueva spoke to reporters at UCI Hospital, where some of the injured were taken.

"The range of injuries we have obviously are head trauma, we have broken bones, we've had some loss of limb," he said. "These are life-threatening injuries."

He said of the collision:

"It looks like it's an accident, horrific accident, but we can't know that for sure until the CHP does their investigation and reaches a conclusion based on all the evidence they still have yet to gather."

At a news conference, Interim L.A. County Fire Chief Anthony Marrone called the incident "a tragedy for the county family."

He said the entire fire department staff "are keeping our Sheriff's sisters and brothers in our thoughts and prayers."

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Pat McDonald, the captain of LASD's training bureau, said the run was a standard part of the department's 22-week training program.

The driver struck a light pole, which ultimately stopped his car.

"Thank God for that light pole," said McDonald, "because the vehicle ultimately hit it and stopped as opposed to possibly hitting more recruits."

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Updated November 16, 2022 at 2:27 PM PST
This developing story has been updated as new information became available.