The driver of a van that plowed into a group of people dining on a Los Angeles sidewalk, striking and injuring at least eight people, was arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run, authorities said. A witness told The Associated Press the van jumped a curb and careened into a group of people eating outside The Fish Spot restaurant in the city’s Mid-Wilshire neighborhood. The vehicle knocked down a white picket fence that served as a barrier between diners and pedestrians on the sidewalk.
“Everyone was eating, enjoying life and out of nowhere this van ran them over,” Courtney Crump said. He said several victims were pinned under the van as panicked witnesses rush to pull them out. A man who was the first person struck by van had severe head injuries, Crump said.
“I heard loud, agonizing screams. I’m shook up,” he said. The victims included a 44-year-old man who suffered critical injuries, three who were seriously hurt and four others who were taken to the hospital in fair condition, Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart said.
A preliminary investigation indicates the driver ran a red light and collided with another car, police Sgt. C. Barlow said. The impact of the crash caused the van to run off the road and onto the sidewalk.
The driver came out of the van and appeared disoriented, Crump said. He jumped back into the van, prompting witnesses to hold him until authorities arrived at the scene. The driver’s name has not been released.