SOUTH WHITTIER, Calif. (KTLA) – A group of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recruits was struck by a vehicle in Southern California on Wednesday morning. Officials say 23 people, including the driver, were injured, five of them critically.
The collision, which took place at about 6:25 a.m., sent dozens of police, fire and medical units to an intersection in South Whittier, near the LASD’s STAR Explore Training Academy.
The 22 LASD victims were initially identified as cadets, though the LASD later confirmed that they are recruits.
Five of the recruits were critically injured, four were moderately injured, and 13 others were minorly injured.
Patients were taken to several hospitals, including St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood and LAC+USC Medical Center.
Capt. Sheila Kelliher of the Los Angeles County Fire Department shared a statement Wednesday morning, wishing all of the injured recruits a speedy recovery.
“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,” said Capt. Kelliher. “So my heart goes out to all of them as they pursue this career.”
Aerial footage from Nexstar’s KTLA showed a gray SUV, possibly a Honda CRV, that appeared to have crashed into a pole, suffering major front-end damage. Victims were also seen being attended to by emergency personnel, with some on gurneys and others receiving care at the scene.
“The vehicle’s driver that struck the recruits was detained pending further investigation,” the department said in a press release.
The driver was identified as a 22-year-old man heading the wrong way on the street, according to Kelliher. His injuries were minor.
A motive, and the events leading up the crash, are still under investigation.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.