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Whittier crash: Suspect accused of ‘deliberately’ driving into sheriff recruits released

‘Life-altering’ injuries suffered by some runners

Oliver O'Connell,Johanna Chisholm
Friday 18 November 2022 17:54 GMT
11 law enforcement recruits struck during morning run in Whittier

Authorities have identified a suspect arrested after an SUV crashed into a group of law enforcement recruits out on a training run on Wednesday morning in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier.

As many as 25 of the group of 75 were taken to local hospitals. Five were listed in critical condition with head trauma, a possible amputation, and lacerations, according to reports.

The suspect detained at the scene by authorities has now been named as Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, 22.

He was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and may have been under the influence of a recreational drug when the crash occurred, Fox 11 reported. Gutierrez passed a field sobriety test and blew a 0.0 in his blood alcohol check. He is due in court on Friday.

The recruits attend the Sheriff’s Training Academy and Regional Services Center located roughly a mile and a half from the crash site. Recruits are often seen running in the vicinity in packs with outrunners wearing high-visibility gear.

Aerial footage showed debris strewn across the roadway as first responders tended to the wounded and a surveillance camera caught the shocking moment on video.


While the recruits wear white t-shirts and green shorts when out running, eight “road guards” wear orange reflective vests as well to alert traffic to their presence.

The light pole that the vehicle struck may have saved other recruits from injury.

Recruits were running in the street in four columns closest to the curb when they were hit. Those at the front who saw the vehicle veer toward them were able to get out of the way, but those behind were unable to react in time.

The serious injuries inflicted on the runners by the crash range from head trauma to loss of a limb, according to the press conference.

Two people may be discharged from the hospital soon. The families of the two most critically injured recruits were airlifted to hospitals to be with their loved ones.

Oliver O'Connell16 November 2022 18:34

Everything we know about the driver

Nearly 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.

Graig Graziosi reports.

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

Oliver O'Connell16 November 2022 18:45

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”.

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.”

Oliver O'Connell16 November 2022 19:15

What we know about the crash that injured 22 police cadets

At least 22 police recruits have been injured after a group of trainees 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.

Here is everything we know so far.

Everything we know about California car crash that injured 22 sheriff’s police cadets

‘Everyone was kind of in a panic, there [were] cables on fire and the car was smoking ... it was really a graphic scene,’ witness says

Oliver O'Connell16 November 2022 19:45

Press briefing: LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva

Law enforcement recruits hit by car in Whittier, California
Oliver O'Connell16 November 2022 20:15

Victim’s girlfriend describes injuries to recruits and efforts to get the driver’s foot off accelerator

Angelica Musick, the girlfriend of one of the victims, said he told her the car just went straight into them.

“Several of his classmates were severely injured,” she told Good Day LA. “One basically severed foot, another with lacerations to the thigh.”

She adds that the driver was still on the accelerator so her partner attempted to break the car window to make him stop because he was still pressing on the gas.

Ms Musicka adds that her boyfriend is OK, but needs to have his hand examined from trying to break open the car door.

Another classmate has a severe head injury, so they are praying everybody is OK.

“My heart dropped,” she said recalling the moment she heard the news.

Stunningly she says they believe the incident might have been intentional given that they had to get the driver to take his foot off the accelerator.

This has not been confirmed by authorities.

Oliver O'Connell16 November 2022 20:30

Watch: Girlfriend of injured Los Angeles Sheriff Dept recruit speak out

Girlfriend of injured LASD recruit speak outs
Oliver O'Connell16 November 2022 20:45

Full story: Vehicle plows into police recruits on morning run

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.

Gustaf Kilander has been following the story.

Vehicle plows into police recruits on morning run injuring 22

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

Oliver O'Connell16 November 2022 21:05

Number of injured grows to 25

The number of victims involved in this morning’s car crash involving recruits from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office has climbed to 25 from an earlier report of 22.

16 suffered minor injuries, four moderate injuries, and five are in critical condition. The driver of the vehicle that plowed into the 75 runners at around 6.30am local time was also injured.

Oliver O'Connell16 November 2022 21:44

Light pole prevented more injuries

The SUV that hit the runners this morning crashed into a light pole on the sidewalk after knocking down and injuring two dozen people.

“They had zero warning,” said Captain Pat MacDonald, who oversees the training academy at which the recruits are based. “Thank God for that light pole because the vehicle ultimately hit it and stopped as opposed to possibly hitting more recruits.”

Oliver O'Connell16 November 2022 22:05

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