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Twenty-five police recruits hurt when struck by wrong-way driver: ‘Bodies scattered everywhere,’ sheriff says

(LOS ANGELES) — Twenty-five police recruits were injured while on a run in Los Angeles early Wednesday when they were struck by a man driving the wrong way, officials said.

About 75 recruits were on the run. The group was mostly Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department recruits, but also included others from nearby police departments, including Pasadena and Glendale.

“It looked like an airplane wreck, there were so many bodies scattered everywhere,” LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference.

Five of the recruits were critically hurt, four suffered moderate injuries and 16 have minor injuries, officials said at a news conference.

Injuries include head trauma, loss of limb and broken bones, officials said. At least one victim is on a ventilator, the sheriff said.

The 22-year-old driver, who has been detained, has minor injuries, Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Sheila Kelliher said.

The cause of the crash is unknown. The California Highway Patrol said it’ll investigate whether the crash was intentional or the result of distracted driving or driving under the influence.

Villanueva said the driver blew a 0.0 on a Breathalyzer test.

“It looks like it’s an accident, a horrific accident,” Villanueva said.

The recruits were running on a routine route at the time of the crash, which took place around 6:29 a.m. Wednesday, while it was still dark out, officials said.

“Road guards” wearing reflective vests ran on the outside of the recruits, officials said.

The sheriff’s office also had two patrol cars escorting the runners.

The accident took place just outside of a fire station, so firefighters immediately raced to the scene, officials said.

Some recruits estimated the car was going about 30 mph, officials said.

“It is hard to see, because these young people are getting ready to go put themselves in the line of danger in their career. And who knows that while you’re training to do that you are actually in harm’s way,” Kelliher said at a news conference. “So my heart goes out to all of them as they pursue this career. I hope that they all have speedy recoveries.”

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