This past November in Boyle Heights, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s sport-utility truck was responding to a radio call of a shooting when it crashed into a car in a crowded intersection and jumped the sidewalk, hitting people walking on the paths and killing 2 boys.
Ever since then, concerns have lingered about how fast the sheriff’s vehicle had been moving and whether or not the emergency lights as well as siren were on at that moment.
The analysis into the fatal accident of 16 Nov is ongoing, but detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Multi-Discipline Collision Investigation Team have provided additional information about the deadly accident.
LAPD Det. Chris Rodriguez said the sheriff’s patrol truck had been traveling less than 25 miles per hour when it entered the intersection of Indiana Street and Whittier Boulevard. The truck had its lights on however, not its siren.
“No hearable sounds were made by the emergency equipment of the police car,” Rodriguez said.
While it headed south on Indiana Street, the sheriff’s patrol vehicle smashed a 1998 Honda Accord going east on Whittier Boulevard. The collision caused the Accord to hit a 2002 Honda Odyssey van that was carrying two adult females and five kids. The van had been stopped at a red light on the northbound lanes of Indiana Street.
Simultaneously, the sheriff’s SUV drove up a curb ramp, careened off the wall surface of a bank building and hit pedestrians on the sidewalk, among them a female and her 2 sons.
Video footage made by a surveillance camera at the Green Mill Liquor shop revealed what went down right after the SUV hit the pedestrians. The brief video revealed the front of the Truck — with its emergency lights on — hitting a trash can. A person rolled into the frame along the sidewalk.
Seven-year-old Jose Luis Hernandez was pronounced dead right at the scene. His older brother, nine-year-old Marcos Antonio Hernandez, was proclaimed dead at L.A. County-USC Medical Center, as reported by Rodriguez.
The mother as well as family members of the 2 boys couldn’t be reached for comment for this story.
In a statement added to the family’s page on the GoFundMe internet site, Jessa Ramos stated her brothers were enthusiastic learners. They dearly loved reading and drawing.
“They had been each great students and would always fight for who was getting dropped off 1st at school,” she wrote.
She stated the crash had left her mother in critical condition along with a broken pelvic bone, head injury, fractured neck, leg and a broken nose.
Altogether, seventeen people were involved in the three-car collision.
A female, who had been 30 days pregnant at the moment, had been struck by both the Honda Accord and the sheriff’s Truck as she had been crossing the intersection. Her unborn child was not harmed from the crash, as reported by Rodriguez.
Los Angeles Lawyers for many of the victims refused to comment or could not be reached for comment. Family of the 2 boys who were killed also could not be reached for remark.
Rodriguez stated during the time of the accident, the sheriff’s patrol vehicle was being driven by a thirty-year-old female trainee deputy, and her 39-year-old-field training officer was in the passenger seat.
“She had been on the job for two or three years and was beginning the patrol aspect of her job,” he said.
Rodriguez stated it would be up to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to publish the name of the deputies. The agency has not replied to requests seeking their names.
A day following the deadly accident, the Sheriff’s Department circulated a statement and indicated its condolences towards the families of the accident victims.
“The LASD and its employees were heavily impacted each time an incident concerning our response to an emergency, or attempts to assist other individuals in need of assistance, results in harm or perhaps the loss of life,” the message read.
That exact same day, Julie Valle, 34, a resident of Boyle Heights, stated that she had been waiting in the front side parking lot of Stevenson Middle School along with her two children, her dog and a family member when she saw the sheriff’s patrol truck speeding south on Indiana Street, with no sirens and no emergency lights.
Valle stated she watched while the vehicle neared Whittier Boulevard.
“The light was red on their side,” she stated. “They did a California roll and turned on the lights at the intersection and after that struck a car.”
The accident triggered a chain reaction, she said. The vehicle traveling eastbound on Whittier Boulevard struck an individual and a van that was on the northbound Lanes of Indiana Street. Valle said the cruiser lost control and went onto the sidewalk, hitting the wall structure of the Wells Fargo bank.
She said she ran out from the school towards the intersection, where she helped a wounded woman.
“She was attempting to get up,” Valle said. “I told her don’t move, you were involved in a vehicle accident.”
Then Valle said she viewed the carnage.
“All I see is tiny legs,” she stated. “Then I see a child, and that’s when I start getting the entire image.”
The mutilated body of 1 boy lay down near another. Their mother, she discovered, was bleeding from the head.
Hector Lopez reported that day that he was walking out of a store close to the intersection when he heard a vehicle accelerate. Within seconds he heard the noise of cars colliding and witnessed some thing fly thru the air, possibly a bumper from 1 of the cars. Lopez stated that he did not hear any law enforcement sirens before the wreck.
“you are required to activate your lights, sirens and look before taking off,” Lopez said, adding that the family should have “justice.”
Lopez stated he had been not interviewed by police investigators.
Rodriguez stated the results from the investigation will be submitted to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, which will assess if criminal charges should be filed.
During a recent Tuesday outside Wells Fargo, a stack of filthy stuffed bears sit alongside a bed of dried out flowers. A broken statue of Jesus Christ as well as candles sat close by. The memorial site, where a vigil was once held for the boys, is the everyday reminder regarding what happened that day.
Leaning against the wall was a poster which has a message from students of 32nd Street School-USC magnet school, which one of the Hernandez brothers went to.
“To the families involved, all of our deepest love and sympathy with you,” the note read. “May God supply you with power and courage to continue.”