SUV veers into wrong lane; rams into dozens of sheriff's recruits in US

  • The lane where the accident took place was strewn by running shoes and a backpack on the ground.
A police officer investigates the scene after multiple Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department recruits were injured when a car crashed into them while they were out for a run in Whittier, California, U.S. November 16, 2022. REUTERS/Ringo Chiu (REUTERS)
A police officer investigates the scene after multiple Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department recruits were injured when a car crashed into them while they were out for a run in Whittier, California, U.S. November 16, 2022. REUTERS/Ringo Chiu

A black SUV veered into the wrong lane, plowing through dozens of recruits of the Los Angeles County sheriff's academy in formation during a training exercise early morning, injuring 25 cadets, authorities said. These cadets suffered injuries like head trauma, broken bones and loss of limb, Sheriff Alex Villanueva told AP. A total of five people were critically injured while four had moderate injuries and 16 had minor injuries.

The lane where the accident took place can be seen strewn by running shoes and a backpack on the ground. There was also a 25 mph (40 kph) speed limit sign close by. “There were so many bodies scattered everywhere in different states of injury that it was pretty traumatic for all individuals involved," Villanueva said.

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Investigators work the scene where 25 Los Angeles County sheriff’s academy recruits on a training run were hit by a vehicle that veered onto the wrong side of the road on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, in Whittier, Calif. (Jeff Gritchen/The Orange County Register via AP) (AP)
Investigators work the scene where 25 Los Angeles County sheriff’s academy recruits on a training run were hit by a vehicle that veered onto the wrong side of the road on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, in Whittier, Calif. (Jeff Gritchen/The Orange County Register via AP) (AP)

About 75 recruits from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and several local police agencies were running in formation on the lane just before 6:30 am in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier when the driver veered into the wrong lane and struck the runners. The fortunate uninjured recruits appeared to be frozen in shock and took charge of helping the injured.

Soon after, the car crashed into a nearby light pole. “Thank God for that light pole, because the vehicle ultimately hit it and stopped, as opposed to possibly hitting more recruits," said Capt. Patrick Macdonald of the academy.

The police identified the driver of the SUV as a 22-year-old man from suburban Diamond Bar, who also suffered a minor injury. People living nearby the crash site got awakened by the commotion. 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 noises.“I can hear these cadets yelling, This one’s unresponsive, this one’s not moving," he said, while recording a video from his window.

First Published Date: 17 Nov 2022, 14:18 PM IST
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