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25 sheriff’s and police recruits on run hit by vehicle near Whittier

Riverside Press-Enterprise logo Riverside Press-Enterprise 11/16/2022 Hunter Lee, Mike Sprague, Ruby Gonzales, Josh Cain, The Press-Enterprise

A driver slammed into a group of 75 Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department training academy cadets who were out on a run Wednesday morning, Nov. 16, in South Whittier, injuring more around two dozen.

The entire class of cadets, which included not just Sheriff’s Department recruits but also a handful for other agencies around the region, were jogging in formation at around 6:30 a.m. northbound in the 10600 block of Mills Avenue, north of Telegraph Avenue, when the driver of a gray SUV plowed into them, said Sheriff Alex Villanueva from UCI Medical Center, where some of the injured were taken.

The SUV was headed southbound on Mills when the driver, a 22-year-old from Diamond Bar, suddenly veered into the opposite lane. The car was left with serious damage to its front. A light pole at the crash scene was toppled.

The driver was apparently headed to work. He did not show any signs of being drunk, Villanueva said.

“The driver was transported to a local hospital,” the sheriff said. “(He was) negative on a field-sobriety test — blew a 0.0 on the breathalyzer.”

In total, 25 people were injured. The crash left five of the cadets with critical injuries, another four with moderate injuries and 16 with minor injuries, Villanueva said. The driver of the SUV that hit them was also in critical condition.

Among those injured were recruits for three local police agencies: two for the Bell Police Department, two for Glendale’s and one for Pasadena’s. Other recruits in the class who were there but uninjured were from the El Segundo and UCLA police departments.

The recruits were on a training exercise with the STARS Explorer Academy in Whittier, about a mile from the crash.

“I am shocked to hear that a driver plowed into a group of young Sheriff’s Academy  cadets during their morning training run,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement. “These individuals represent the future of law enforcement, they have incredible courage and my utmost respect for wanting to serve their communities.

“I’m tracking this incident closely — it’s senseless and tragic,” she said. “From the bottom of my heart, I am hoping no one was seriously hurt.”

This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

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