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Sheriff’s Department hosts fundraiser for recruits hit by wrong-way driver

The grill was smoking, the burgers were flipping and the line was growing as hundreds came to Norwalk to help the injured recruits from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy Class 464. 

Many were from the law enforcement community. Some drove through hours of Thanksgiving traffic to show their support. 



“Even though we are not from Los Angeles County or the L.A. area, we are all brothers out here and this is a big deal for us,” said Riverside Police Department Sgt. Ryan Taack.

Local business owners and community members donated the food and materials for this fundraiser. All of the proceeds will go to the over two dozen recruits that were hit by a wrong-way driver while on a training run in South Whittier. In all, 25 recruits suffered injuries varying from head trauma to loss of limbs. Right now, one is in grave condition and three are critical. The rest have been released from the hospital. 

According to the Sheriff’s Department, since the recruits were not sworn personnel, all of their medical expense will be out of pocket. 

“All I can think was my son was on the street several of those days in his training,” said Marie Rosales, a mother of a former L.A. County Deputy. 

Rosales brought her grandson to show their love and gratitude for the recruits and their families on the day before Thanksgiving.

“We hope their families can find peace over the holiday, that their cadets get better and better,” she said.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said investigators had probable cause to believe the driver, 22-year-old Nicolas Gutierrez, intentionally ran into the recruits. He was arrested and accused of attempted murder of a peace officer but was released hours later after investigators said they needed more time to gather evidence to present to prosecutors.

Gutierrez’s attorney says this was a tragic accident that happened when he fell asleep at the wheel. 

Among those that appeared at the fundraiser was incoming Sheriff Robert Luna.

“Sadness, you’re heartbroken, we have a lot of work to do because we have to support their families,” he said. “We have to do everything we can to support the members of the training division.”

Source: CBS News

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