Everything we know about the driver that plowed into LA deputy recruits

The motorist was from the nearby city of Diamond Bar, according to law enforcement officials

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 17 November 2022 12:15 GMT
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department recruits hit by SUV

More than two dozen prospective Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies are recovering in the hospital after an alleged wrong-way driver struck the group of recruits during their morning jog.

A car allegedly traveling the wrong direction smashed into the group of recruits on Wednesday and then reportedly hit a light pole, according to NBC 4 Los Angeles.

Follow along with the latest on the incident at The Independent’s liveblog.

Five of the recruits are in critical condition, which were described by officials as being “life altering”, four suffered moderate injuries, and 14, including the driver, are being treated for minor injuries, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

There is little information currently available about the driver of the car.

What is known is that the driver is a 22-year-old Hispanic man, who was detained at the scene of the crash. He is being treated for minor injuries resulting from the incident and reportedly is cooperating with police.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the man told police he was “sleepy” at the time of the accident. Law enforcement officials said they did not detect the odour of alcohol on the man’s breath.

Later, LAPD Sheriff Alex Villanueva confirmed that the 22-year-old had passed a field sobriety test after the crash and blew 0.0 in a blood alcohol test.

Aerial footage shows the vehicle that struck a group of police recruits on a morning run in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier
Aerial footage shows the vehicle that struck a group of police recruits on a morning run in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier (CBSLA)

“It looks like it’s an accident — a 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,” Sheriff Villanueva said during a press conference.

During the same briefing on Wednesday, law enforcement confirmed that the driver is from Diamond Bar, though they have not released the driver’s name. Diamond Bar is just over 16 miles east of the site of the STARS Explorer Academy, the primary training facility for LA County Sheriff’s deputies. The incident occurred near the academy.

“We had the sheriff’s cadets running in formation going north on Mills Avenue. We had a vehicle going southbound. For reasons we’re still determining and investigating it veered into opposing lanes and struck multiple cadets,” CHP Assistant Chief Charlie Sampson said during a press conference Wednesday morning.

Captain Pat McDonnell of the LASD said the training exercise was a “typical run” the recruits undertake regularly.

“They proceeded on their run. Once they got to Mills Road they made a northbound turn using safety vehicles to block traffic accordingly,” he said.

That’s when the SUV hit the recruits, Mr McDonnell said.

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