On Wednesday, a wrong-way driver drove into a large group of 75 law enforcement recruits out for an early morning jog in Los Angeles County. Twenty-five of the recruits were hit by the vehicle, and five are currently in critical condition, KTLA reported.
The driver of the vehicle was also injured in the crash.
The recruits were struck by a vehicle around 6:25 a.m. while in a running formation near the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s STARS Explorer Training Academy in South Whittier, California.
The recruits included 65 people from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and 10 from several local police departments.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters that of the 25 injured cadets, 20 were from the sheriff’s department, two were from Bell, two were from Glendale, and one was from Pasadena.
Villanueva stated that five recruits sustained critical injuries, four were moderately injured, and 16 suffered minor injuries. Some injuries included head trauma, broken bones, and loss of limbs. Villanueva noted that one individual was placed on a ventilator.
“Now we’re facing some life-altering injuries for the most severely injured recruits … We hope all of them make a full recovery, and they’ll have a chance to come back and complete the academy. That’s my goal,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva reported that some of the recruits said they heard the vehicle accelerating up to 30-40 mph before the collision, and no skid marks were seen.
Los Angeles County Fire Department Captain Sheila Kelliher stated, “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’ve put yourself in harm’s way.”
“My heart goes out to all of them as they pursue this career. I hope they all have speedy recoveries and that they’re in good shape,” Kelliher added.
Kelliher noted that the driver was a 22-year-old man, but his name has not been released. She reported that he was driving the wrong way down the street when the collision occurred.
After running into the crowd of joggers, the driver struck and knocked down a light pole. The front of the vehicle sustained significant damage, but the driver only suffered minor injuries.