Whittier, CA – Surveillance video from a building across the street showed what happened on Wednesday morning when an SUV plowed into four columns of 75 sheriff’s department recruits on their morning run (video below).
Twenty-five members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) recruiting class were run over about 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 16 by an SUV that was on the wrong side of the road.
Authorities said the recruits were running in four columns with eight road guards who were all wearing reflective high-visibility vests running on the outside edges of their group.
The recruits were wearing green shorts and bright white t-shirts, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Residents said they are used to hearing the recruits calling cadence as the sheriff’s deputy candidates attending the Sheriff’s Training Academy and Regional Services (STARS) Center about a mile away run by their homes in the morning.
On Wednesday, a Honda CRV on the wrong side of the road, driven by 22-year-old man from Diamond Bar, plowed into the group of future sheriff’s deputies at full speed as they ran down Mills Avenue in South Whittier, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The newly-released surveillance video from across the street showed the recruits running in the front of the group barely had a split-second to react when they saw the SUV veer toward them.
Some of the recruits in the front were able to dive out of the way before they were hit, the video showed.
But LASD Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the others in the column behind them never saw the vehicle coming, KNBC reported.
“It happened so quickly,” Sheriff Villanueva said at a media briefing. “They jumped out of the way, but the people behind had no chance. They never saw it.”
The video showed the SUV plowed into the sheriff’s department recruits at full speed.
“They had zero warning,” LASD Captain Pat MacDonald told reporters. “Thank God for that light pole because the vehicle ultimately hit it and stopped as opposed to possibly hitting more recruits.”
The vehicle ran over about one-third of the recruits before it slammed into a pole and stopped.
The car erupted in flames and smoke covered the chaotic scene as those who were not injured rushed to help the fallen recruits.
Less than a block away, first responders at Los Angeles County Fire Station 96 heard the loud crash of the SUV striking the pole and ran outside to see what had happened, KNBC reported.
“After they heard the accident, they immediately responded with 20 response vehicles,” LA County Fire Captain Sheila Kelliher told reporters.
“We had a ton of resources on scene, and it was amazing to watch those patients get off-scene as quickly as they did,” Kelliher said.
Twenty-five sheriff’s department recruits were injured, five of them critically, FOX News reported.
Sheriff Villanueva said there were multiple broken bones, head trauma, and a “loss of limb.”
At least two recruits had to be airlifted due to life-threatening injuries, KNBC reported.
Sheriff Villanueva said the SUV was traveling 30-to-40 mph when it plowed into the group of runners, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“There was so many bodies scattered everywhere in different states of injury that it was pretty traumatic for all individuals involved,” the sheriff told reporters.
The sheriff said there were no skid marks to evidence the driver had tried to stop, KNBC reported.
“It looked like an airplane wreck,” he said.
Authorities said the driver of the vehicle that ran over the law enforcement recruits was given a sobriety test at the scene and taken into custody, KTVU reported.
However, the results of the sobriety test have not yet been released.
Authorities have not yet released the name of the driver of the Honda CRV, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said the victims represented about half of the current class of future sheriff’s deputies, KNBC reported.
The California Highway Patrol is heading up the investigation into the crash, KNBC reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content:
25 law enforcement recruits out jogging in Los Angeles County this morning were run over Darrel Brooks-style by a speeding vehicle. A suspect name has not yet been released. pic.twitter.com/PiFrshxQsb
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) November 17, 2022