A sheriff's department vehicle and two civilian vehicles collided in Boyle Heights, and the patrol vehicle struck a group of pedestrians, killing two boys and critically injuring their mother, authorities said.
The impact of the crash that happened about 7:25 p.m. Thursday at Indiana Street and Whittier Boulevard caused one of the vehicles to strike five pedestrians standing on a corner, according to Officer Tony Im of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations Division.
A woman was critically injured, and her two sons, ages 7 and 9, suffered fatal injuries, LAPD Officer Tony Kuey said. One boy died at the scene and the other died at a hospital, he said. The boys were identified by family members as Jose Luis Hernandez and his older brother Marco Hernandez. Their critically injured mother's name is Veronica Solis, family members said.
One of the other vehicles struck two adults in a crosswalk, Kuey said. They were taken to a hospital for treatment, as were two sheriff's deputies. The deputies, who had been headed to a shots-fired call, were listed in stable condition, police said.
U.S. & World
Officials are investigating whether or not the deputy vehicle had its sirens on or not after speculation from witnesses were brought to light. Some witnesses alleged that the deputy vehicle did not have its sirens on and was speeding while footage from a surveillance camera showed otherwise.
"They turned the lights on at that moment," witness Julie Valle said. "It was not enough time for anybody to get out of the way because they were going so fast."
"If you're going Code 3, Code 3 is lights and siren," Sheriff Jim McDonnell said. "That would be my expectation as they go through an intersection."
It was unclear if the patrol vehicle had its siren activated. The two civilian drivers involved in the crash remained at the scene and were cooperating with the investigation, police said.
"We extend our deepest condolences to the families and all those affected by this tragic accident," a sheriff's department statement said. "The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is working to provide the Los Angeles Police Department's Multi-Discipline Collision Investigation Team with any information it needs or requests during the course of its investigation. The LASD and its personnel are heavily impacted any time an incident involving our response to an emergency, or efforts to help others in need, results in injury or the loss of life," the statement said.
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the LAPD Central Traffic Division at (213) 833-3746, or (877) LAPD-247.