Accident in Whittier: Here’s what we know about the law enforcement recruits who were hit by a wrong-way driver

ORANGE, Calif. (KABC)– More than two dozen law enforcement recruits were hit by a wrong-way driver during a run in Whittier, and authorities say some of them suffered “life-changing injuries” including head injuries, broken bones and loss of limbs.

A class of about 75 recruits were driving as part of a training exercise Wednesday morning when a 22-year-old driver crashed into the group. Here’s what we know so far:

The victims and their injuries

A total of five recruits are currently in critical condition, four are being treated for “moderate” injuries and 16 have minor injuries. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at least one was on a ventilator.

The recruits were all sent to various hospitals in the area, but the most critical patients were rushed before paramedics arrived. Villanueva said the action helped save lives.

“Fortunately, we usually have paramedics in every class — I think that class even had an RN who was a recruit so they could do first aid right on the spot with the gear they had,” he said at a morning press conference .

A sheriff’s helicopter flew family members of some of the victims to and dropped them off at UC Irvine Medical Center. Other victims were taken to St. Francis Medical Center, USC and Whittier Presbyterian.

“What speaks for them is that they are all young, capable, and in good health, and God willing, they will recover…even the one who is currently in the most critical condition at St . Francis. They’re just going to have a long way to go to recover,” the sheriff added.

Recruit injured on ventilator in Whittier crash, officials say

The cause of the crash has not been determined, and the victims have not been identified.

“It looks like an accident, a terrible accident,” Villanueva said.

The recruits in training

Villanueva said the recruits came from several different agencies, including Bell, Glendale, Pasadena, El Segundo and UCLA Police Departments. The rest was with the sheriff’s department.

The recruits were in their eighth week of training with 14 weeks left.

According to LASD Capt. Pat MacDonald, who runs the department’s training office, the recruits all set out on their run with two patrol vehicles acting as escorts, which he says is typical when recruit classes run.

They walked down the street in a four column formation.

Authorities said this is the particular route recruits take on their morning run.

Persons referred to as “road wardens” wore high-visibility vests. The recruits wore white T-shirts and dark green pants.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. Accident in Whittier: Here’s what we know about the law enforcement recruits who were hit by a wrong-way driver

Laura Coffey

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