Family members on Friday identified the 7- and 9-year-old boys who were fatally struck by an on-duty Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department SUV in the Boyle Heights area the night before.
Jose Luis Hernandez, 7, and his 9-year-old brother Marco Antonio Hernandez were both killed as a result of the impact, and their mother remained in critical condition, the Los Angeles Police Department said Friday.
The crash was reported around 7:25 p.m. Thursday in the in the intersection of South Indiana Street and Whittier Boulevard, on the border of East L.A. and Boyle Heights, near where the mother was walking with her children.
Two deputies were responding to a call about a gunshot victim when their SUV collided with two other vehicles in the intersection. The patrol vehicle went careening onto the sidewalk where the family was, according to an LAPD investigation.
The deputy behind the wheel was actually in training for patrol duties and her training officer was in the passenger seat, L.A. County Sheriff Jim Mc Donnell told KTLA.
"She was training," he said. "She had some significant time on the job, but our employees, when they come out of the jails and go to patrol function then they go through patrol training at that time."
A witness has claimed the deputies did not have their lights and sirens turned on. That issue is under investigation.
After the initial crash, one of the vehicles that collided with the deputies was propelled into another vehicle. Two adults who were walking through a crosswalk sustained relatively minor injuries as a result of that collision, police said.
The attorney for 56-year-old Adolfo Robles, who was also injured in the collision, said his client "lost consciousness" and has been "in and out" but is recovering now.
Carlos Gomez, the attorney, said he is asking the sheriff's department to preserve all electronic data from the patrol vehicle involved.
"The sheriff’s SUV may not have taken the proper precautions before entering the intersection, which may have caused this collision and ultimately led to the serious injuries of my client," Gomez said.
"It’s just a tragic set of circumstances for everyone involved," McDonnell said of the deadly collision.
None of the drivers involved in the incident were injured, officials said.
Police are continuing their probe of the crash. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the LAPD at 213-833-3746.