Six people were hospitalized after a violent pre-dawn vehicle collision in the Fairfax district on New Year’s Day, and one of the drivers tried to flee the scene but was detained by witnesses, Los Angeles police said.
The crash occurred just before 6 a.m. Monday at 7432 Melrose Ave., according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Three men and three women, all in their late 20s or early 30s, were taken to trauma centers, the Fire Department’s Margaret Stewart said. Five of those patients were inside a car that was operating as an Uber when it was struck, police said.
The Uber’s four passengers were transported in critical condition, one of them with life-threatening injuries, while the Uber driver was treated and will be OK, Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Gura said.
The driver of the other vehicle was also hospitalized and will be turned over to police custody, Gura said. That driver was stopped by onlookers after fleeing the crash scene, the sergeant said.
Video from the scene showed two vehicles on the sidewalk in front of a sporting apparel business, FampionX, which had its facade damaged. A dark-colored Mercedes-Benz SUV was upside down and another vehicle – apparently a Toyota Prius – had its front end and windshield destroyed. Debris was scattered across the street.
A police official on scene said the driver of the SUV had been involved in an earlier crash not far away, and that the SUV had T-boned the sedan, which was the ride-share vehicle with passengers.
Firefighters treated one patient whose head was visibly bloodied, video showed. He was fitted with a neck brace, placed on a gurney and taken to an ambulance.
A man who said he was asleep nearby was awoken by the “big boom” of the impact, which he said shook the windows. He went outside to see paramedics pulling people out of the wreckage.
“The driver was walking around covered in blood. He was in shock,” said the witness, who gave his name as Jesse Sanchez.
The other driver tried to leave the scene but was detained by citizens who “held him down,” Sanchez said.
City building and safety inspectors were notified to come evaluate the damaged structure, Stewart said.