The wrong-way SUV driver accused of intentionally striking dozens of Los Angeles sheriff’s recruits Wednesday, leaving several critically injured, was arrested following the carnage, police said.
Nicholas Gutierrez, 22, was allegedly behind the wheel of the vehicle going the wrong way that slammed into a group of 75 recruits as they were out for a morning jog just before 6:30 a.m., police said.
He was charged with attempted murder of a peace officer over the horrific incident, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
At least 25 recruits were injured — five critically and some lost limbs, according to the sheriff’s office.
“There were so many bodies scattered everywhere in different states of injury that it was pretty traumatic for all individuals involved,” LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.
Some of the recruits reported that Gutierrez may have sped up in the moments before impact, Villanueva added. They said they heard the SUV accelerate.
Investigators believe he was going between 30 and 40 mph when he struck them and then hit a light pole, which ultimately stopped the SUV.
The recruits said they had no time to react or jump out of the way.
Some suffered “life-altering injures” like loss of limbs and head trauma, Villanueva said.
The department is investigating what caused the crash.
The recruits were accompanied by eight road guards wearing high visibility reflective vests as well as drill instructors and two safety vehicles.
Gutierrez took a sobriety test and had no alcohol in his system. He was taken into custody at the scene.