(NewsGlobal.com)- Twenty-five police recruits were hospitalized after a driver traveling the wrong way plowed into the group during a morning run in Whittier, according to Fox 11. The recruits were part of various agencies in Los Angeles County.
16 recruits reportedly suffered minor injuries, four had moderate injuries, and five were critically injured. The entire class consists of 75 recruits in Class 646 from LASD, Bell PD, Glendale PD, Pasadena PD, and the UCLA Police Department, attending the Sheriff’s Training Academy and Regional Services (STARS) Center.
The incident was reported early morning at 6:25 a.m., according to California Highway Patrol. After a loud crash was heard when the driver plowed into the recruits and a light pole, LA County Fire Station 96 rendered aid to the victims and called for additional resources.
The cadets were immediately rushed to various hospitals in LA and Orange counties, including two who were airlifted.
The driver has been identified as 22-year-old Nicholas Gutierrez, who underwent a sobriety test at the scene. LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva confirmed that he passed the test and had also suffered injuries in the crash. Officials say that marijuana was found in the SUV.
Gutierrez was arrested and taken into custody shortly after the incident but was subsequently released just hours later. His family says that he’s a “good kid” who respects law enforcement because he comes from a law enforcement family.
LA County Sheriff-elect Robert Luna expressed her sympathies to the recruits in the accident, saying that is extending her “unconditional support to the Sheriff and Police Chiefs from LA County agencies, their departments, and the families of those who are injured.”
LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn said that the county was putting together all of its resources for the victims.
As the investigation into the accident continues, those who might have witnessed the crash are urged to contact the California Highway Patrol. The Sheriff’s Relief Association is also accepting donations on behalf of the victims and Class 646.