A multiple hit-and-run leaves 22 injured on the outskirts of Los Angeles | International
A group of recruits from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office was run over this Wednesday morning while exercising in Whittier, 19 kilometers southeast of the city. A truck that was going at high speed in the opposite direction hit them, injuring 22 members of this force, who received medical attention at the scene of the accident. At least five people, in critical condition, have been transferred to various hospitals. The authorities have arrested the driver of the vehicle, a 22-year-old man, who has also been evacuated to a health center. The causes of the crash are being investigated.
The California Highway Police, the Highway Patrol (CHP), has indicated that the incident was reported at 06:26 in the morning at an intersection near the training center of the county sheriff's office. This is just over two kilometers from the site of the event. The recruits were part of the STARS Explorer Academy, a program that since 1969 has been dedicated to molding the character of those who aspire to become the most important law enforcement officers in the populous county. The recruits were in their tenth week of training.
Firefighters have reported that most of the recruits, about 14, were slightly injured. Four had moderate injuries and five severely. Authorities have confirmed that the driver was subjected to a breathalyzer test after being arrested. At this time, it is unknown if he was driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs and has not yet been identified. The only detail authorities have revealed about him is that he is a resident of Diamond Bar, a town 20 kilometers east of Whittier.
The authorities do not rule out that the run over was intentional. "For reasons that remain to be determined and investigated, the vehicle veered into the opposite lanes and impacted multiple cadets," Charlie Sampson of the CHP said at a news conference. Alex Villanueva, the Los Angeles sheriff, has explained that the cadets usually run in groups through the streets and dressed in luminous vests. Some officers guard the passage during training and with a vehicle that follows them.
Aerial images of the area, broadcast by local television networks, revealed the extensive destruction caused by the impact. The truck, smashed in its front, had hit and knocked down a huge utility pole, leading investigators to believe the vehicle was moving at high speed.
"The news has made me sick... To think of all those recruits who were working out in the morning when they basically got plowed over by a driver," said Janice Hahn, a member of the powerful Los Angeles Board of Supervisors. "I'm praying that everyone can get out of this well," she added to the KTLA television network. Kathryn Barger, another member of this government collegiate body, published a statement in which she condemned the events. “These individuals represent the future of law and order defense, they are full of courage and they only deserve my highest respect for wanting to serve their communities,” she said.
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