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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.


‘It looked like an airplane wreck’: Sheriff describes scene of crash where at least 25 were injured

Speaking during a news conference on Wednesday about the 25 police recruits were injured after a car driving the wrong way barrelled into the group of runners, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva compared the aftermath to a plane crash.

“It looked like an airplane wreck, there were so many bodies scattered everywhere,” Sheriff Villanueva said at a news conference.

Five of the recruits were critically hurt, four suffered moderate injuries and 16 have minor injuries, officials said at a news conference.

The list of injuries that the individuals have succumbed to include head trauma, loss of limb and broken bones, officials said. At least one of the victims, they added, was placed on a ventilator on Wednesday afternoon.

Johanna Chisholm17 November 2022 15:30

Recruits estimate car was travelling at 30mph before crash

Recruits at the scene of the crash on Wednesday afternoon told officials that they estimated the driver was going about 30mph.

The accident, which took place just outside of a nearby fire station, was immediately tended to by the firefighters who were inside, officials said.

“It is hard to see, because these young people are getting ready to go put themselves in the line of danger in their career. And who knows that while you’re training to do that you are actually in harm’s way,” Los Angeles County Fire Capt Sheila Kelliher said at a news conference. “So my heart goes out to all of them as they pursue this career. I hope that they all have speedy recoveries.”

Johanna Chisholm17 November 2022 16:00

Sheriffs’ Relief Association fundraises for injured recruits

The Sheriffs’ Relief Association, based out of Whittier, California, says that they’re collecting funds for the injured police recruits.

The organisation, which was founded in 1924 by Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz as the benevolent arm of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, was created to address the needs of Department members during individual times of family crisis.

Johanna Chisholm17 November 2022 16:30

In pictures: Scenes from the site where a driver crashed into dozens of police recruits, injuring more than two dozen

Johanna Chisholm17 November 2022 17:00

California governor sends a message to injured recruits

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued the following statement regarding Wednesday’s crash and the 25 recruits were injured during the incident.

“Our hearts are with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s recruits injured this morning while training to serve their communities,” the Democratic governor said. “Jennifer and I send our best wishes for their recovery and stand with their loved ones and colleagues at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department during this difficult time.”

Johanna Chisholm17 November 2022 17:30

Surveillance footage captures moment of crash

New surveillance video from a nearby home shows the moment a driver slammed an SUV into a group of law-enforcement recruits out for a morning run in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier at 630am on Wednesday. A motive is still unknown.

The video has been edited to remove graphic content (via ABC7).

Here’s Maroosha Muzaffar’s report.

Moment car crashed into group of police recruits leaving five critically injured

Driver was detained at the scene and was identified to be a 22-year-old man

Oliver O'Connell17 November 2022 18:15

BREAKING - Authorities identify suspect

Authorities in Los Angeles have formally arrested a 22-year-old man after a vehicle plowed into a large group of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department cadets on a training run in the suburb of Whittier on Wednesday morning. More than two dozen were injured — five critically.

Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with the crash.

His bail was set at $2m, according to the sheriff’s department.

Oliver O'Connell17 November 2022 18:59

Suspect, 22, arrested for attempted murder

A suspect has been arrested after allegedly plowing into 25 law enforcement recruits in California.

Los Angeles County authorities have identified the suspect as 22-year-old Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, of Diamond Bar.

He is accused of crashing into the group of recruits with his Honda CR-V in Whittier on Wednesday.

Andrea Blanco has the full story.

Suspect arrested for attempted murder after ploughing car into 25 police recruits

Los Angeles County authorities have identified the suspect as 22-year-old Joseph Gutierrez, of Diamond Bar

Oliver O'Connell17 November 2022 19:23

How the incident unfolded

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the driver — now named as Nicholas Joseph Guttierez, 22 — veered from the southbound lane and plowed into recruits who were running in formation on the edge of the northbound lane adjacent to the curb at approximately 6.30am.

The recruits were running in four columns with eight road guards who wear reflective high-visibility vests demarking them to traffic. In addition to that, drill instructors and safety vehicles accompanied recruits on the run.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva spoke with the recruits who were running at the front of the formation.

“It happened so quickly,” Mr Villanueva told a press conference. “They jumped out of the way, but the people behind had no chance. They never saw it.”

It is estimated that the SUV was traveling at between 30 to 40mph, and there were no signs of skid marks on the roadway. The vehicle then hit a light pole bringing it to a stop and destroying the front end.

Angelica Musick, the girlfriend of one of the victims, told Good Day LA that her boyfriend said the driver still had his foot on the accelerator and he had attempted to break the car’s window to make him stop.

The investigation continues.

Oliver O'Connell17 November 2022 19:30

Everything we know about LA car crash that injured 25 police recruits

At least 25 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 LA car crash that injured 25 police recruits

Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez was reportedly “arrested on suspicion of attempted murder on peace officers in connection with Wednesday’s crash.”

Oliver O'Connell17 November 2022 20:00

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