Sheriff’s recruit in grave condition; one of 25 trainees hit by car in South Whittier crash
The crash in Whittier was just one of two incidents of fatal collisions involving California sheriff’s trainees in the past two weeks.
It followed two deaths last month at a training session — one involving a trainee who suffered a head injury after being struck by trainee’s car.
The two accidents were the latest in a rash of training incidents in Whittier and the surrounding area, all involving sheriff’s trainees.
In all, 17 training sessions have been canceled or postponed at Whittier Station since October.
The first fatal training crash involved an injured trainee who was hit by trainee’s car around 1 p.m. Sept. 8.
The second fatality was a trainee who suffered a brain injury when struck by a car that had been traveling southbound on Harbor Boulevard.
Both incidents occurred on Friday, but were not reported until Monday, when the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the coroner’s office were notified.
On Wednesday, the sheriff’s department said it believed the trainees were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, and noted that the trainees appeared to be “completely unharmed.”
The department would not say whether the trainees were ejected.
In the second incident, the trainees were returning to their cars at about 8:55 a.m. Monday after practice, authorities said.
They had all been drinking alcohol, sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said, but he would not comment on their condition at the time.
Trainee James R. Lewis died at the scene, and an autopsy is pending. He was a sergeant assigned to the Whittier Station.
On the afternoon of Sept. 22, Sgt. Thomas H. Smith was struck by a car while driving on Harbor Boulevard.
According to a police report, Smith’s car crashed into the back of another vehicle at about 8:52 p.m. A second vehicle was also struck by traffic.