As many as 25 trainees of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were struck by an out-of-control SUV on Wednesday morning.
According to the reports, a group of some 75 cadets was on a morning jog through Whittier, California, when a wrong-way driver in an SUV plowed into them before crashing into a utility pole along Mills Avenue at around 6.26 am.
While it remains unclear whether the driver was driving under influence, the police have since confirmed that the 22-year-old has been detained pending investigation.
Authorities also confirmed that “there was some velocity” at work due to the damage that the vehicle and the utility pole suffered upon collision.
In the incident, 25 sheriff’s recruits were injured, five of them critically.
“It looked like an airplane wreck. There [were] so many bodies scattered everywhere in different states of injury that it was pretty traumatic for all individuals involved,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva revealed outside the UC Irvine Medical Center.
Meanwhile, a shocked resident, 92-year-old Raymond Espinosa, revealed that he had often seen cadets running in the area in the past.
He also insisted that his neighborhood is typically pretty quiet while calling the incident “horrible.”
Another local, Mike Pavich, said he couldn’t believe what had happened.
“Why would a car go up on the sidewalk and hit 75 sheriff guys running. These guys run all the time. Every month or every two months, you see them,” he said.
42-year-old Omar Dadia of Whittier walked to Mills Avenue on Wednesday morning after waking up to the sound of sirens.
“Seeing those people laying there, some here, some there, hurt. I can’t imagine what their parents would feel right now,” he recalled. “All they wanted to do is be ready to join.”
As of this writing, the tragic incident remains under investigation.
Our thoughts are with the sheriff’s cadets involved in the crash.
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