Vehicle plows into police recruits on morning run injuring 22

‘The car was completely wrecked, like the whole front end was done,’ witness says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Wednesday 16 November 2022 18:04 GMT
At least 22 police recruits struck by vehicle during morning run
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At least 22 police recruits have been injured after the group was struck by a vehicle driven by a 22-year-old man while they were out for a morning run in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier.

The suspect, who’s reported to be from Diamond Bar east of Los Angeles, was given a sobriety test by police, according to ABC7.

According to California Highway Patrol, the incident was first reported around 6.30am, close to the Mills Avenue and Telegraph Road intersection.

The recruits are being trained at the Sheriff’s Training Academy and Regional Services (STARS) Center on Colima Road, about a mile and a half from the site of the scene of the incident.

The incident, including what led to the group being struck, is under investigation.

An area resident told Fox 11 that the police trainees often run in the area in large groups wearing high-visibility vests.

Captain Sheila Kelliher of the Los Angeles County Fire Department told the assembled press that the driver was driving the wrong way down the road and that it was unclear how he lost control of the car.

She said 23 people were injured, including the driver.

She said five sheriff’s deputy cadets suffered critical injuries, four were moderately injured and 14 suffered minor injuries.

Captain Kelliher told the press that the cadets “were running doing their morning training exercise when this person ran into them”.

A 22-year-old man crashed into a group of police cadets out for a morning run
A 22-year-old man crashed into a group of police cadets out for a morning run (Screenshot / ABC7)

“We do not have a cause we do not have any other information on how the driver lost control,” she added.

Captain Kelliher confirmed that a light pole was struck as well.

“Traditionally, when we go for runs we're in our PT gear, which is ... shorts, T-shirts and sweatshirts. I don't know that for sure. But that's a typical outfit that we would wear during our PT,” she said.

Cadets could be seen in the area wearing black t-shirts and green shorts.

“We got young recruits. We got strong people out there – you could see that our helicopters are on scene. Our paramedics are the best in the business. Everybody got here quickly, everybody was taken care of immediately. And all those patients were off-scene immediately,” the captain told reporters.

22 police recruits were injured after being struck by a vehicle while on a morning run
22 police recruits were injured after being struck by a vehicle while on a morning run (Screenshot / Fox 11 LA)

She said that each “multi-casualty incident is pretty similar – every time we come in and immediately just start looking who our critical patients are and we try to get them off scene immediately”.

“And there's a certain little thing that we go through to see if they're breathing, see if they're conscious, stop the bleeding if it's possible,” she said. “And then we get them into the right category. If people can walk up and walk away we call them the ‘walking wounded’, [if] they can come to us ... we know they're minor patients and the sorting just goes that way.”

Cadets are treated after being struck by a car
Cadets are treated after being struck by a car (Screenshot / ABC7)

A witness, only identified as Joseph, told ABC7 that “the street is really dangerous and it's a main street but there’s so much foot traffic and also just regular traffic and there's always people speeding or driving drunk through here”.

He added that it’s not “uncommon to hear a crash outside of the house like that. But I've never seen something this bad”.

He said ambulances responded “within 10 minutes” and that “when I came out, I was probably out there for like five minutes and then I started hearing ambulances come through”.

The area resident told ABC7 that “I come out to see people on the floor ... it was really crazy”.

“Everyone was kind of in a panic, there [were] cables on fire and the car was smoking ... it was really a graphic scene,” he added.

Joseph said that he and other residents rushed to help, bringing water and towels.

“The car was completely wrecked, like the whole front end was done,” he told ABC7. “The light pole was on the floor ... it was like three or four of us neighbours that came out because this has happened before. We’ve lived here for 10 years. It’s happened before like where a car crashes into a gate, but this was like ... no one could ever imagine for this to happen.”

“There were so many people. Everyone was kind of in various conditions, some were unconscious, some were still conscious, some with really bad injuries to their legs. There was people bleeding from their face,” he said.

“The sheriff’s academy ... like they run through here all the time so you feel kind of connected to them,” the witness told the local TV station. “So it was a really crazy thing to wake up to.”

According to Fox 11, LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn said that “I just felt sick. Here were all those recruits on their morning run who basically got plowed into in this driver”.

She said no resource is being spared to help the victims.

“We’re hoping they pull through,” she said.

The assistant chief of the California Highway Patrol, Charlie Sampson, told the press that a total of 75 cadets were running in the group. He added that the suspect is cooperating with the authorities.

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