A wrong-way driver operating a Honda CRV allegedly plowed into about 75 jogging Los Angeles County sheriff recruits on Wednesday morning.
In what L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva described as a “horrific incident” and a tragedy that perhaps resembled the aftermath of an airplane crash, 25 of the cadets were injured, five critically, in the ghastly episode that occurred during a training run near Whittier, Calif.
Paramedics rushed the future law enforcement officers, some of whom were set to join local departments upon their certification, to several area hospitals, according to CBS News.
Most of the injuries in the potential mass casualty event that occurred at about 6:30 a.m. local time are fortunately said to be moderate or minor.
With drill instructors plus eight road guards wearing reflective vests and two radio cars in the formation, this particular training exercise, which happened to occur within close proximity of a fire department station, is a routine part of the curriculum of the 22-week police academy curriculum, which for this group was in week eight.
The southbound SUV driver, age 22, who allegedly crossed into the northbound lane, passed a field sobriety test with a zero rating on a Breathalyzer, according to the sheriff.
An investigation by the California Highway Patrol into the cause of the accident, and so forth, is ongoing. Cops reportedly executed a search warrant on the motorist’s home on Wednesday evening.
Watch what purports to be a home surveillance video that captures the frightening incident:
**WARNING: Video contains graphic footage**
Villanueva, who served as a training officer earlier in his career, also explained that “injuries included head trauma and broken bones, and ‘we have had some loss of limb,’ noting that one of the five critical patients ‘is currently on a ventilator,'” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The sheriff characterized some of the injuries as life-altering and asserted that “There were so many bodies scattered everywhere in different states of injury that it was pretty traumatic for all individuals involved.”
“Recruits were running in four columns when a vehicle approached at 30 to 40 mph, Villanueva said. Those at the front of the column were able to get out of the way before the SUV struck others and then crashed into a light pole,” the Times added.
“Thank God for that light pole, because the vehicle ultimately hit it and stopped, as opposed to possibly hitting more recruits,” another sheriff’s department official commented.
The sheriff acknowledged that “injuries are not uncommon in the academy, such as broken bones and shrapnel wounds. But Wednesday’s crash was uncharted territory,” NBC News reported.
Sheriff Villanueva, a sometimes controversial law-and-order Democrat who often clashed with the woke L.A. County board of supervisors, lost his bid for reelection to former Long Beach PD chief Robert Luna after the completion of the vote count following last week’s elections.
Watch a presser conducted by Sheriff Villaneuva and other officials embedded below:
Note: All suspects are presumed innocent until or unless they are convicted in a court of law of any alleged crimes.
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