The driver who plowed into dozens of law enforcement recruits on Wednesday did so intentionally, but authorities later let him go because of a lack of evidence, investigators said..
“They’ve developed probable cause to believe it was intentional,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in an interview with News Nation.
The driver, identified by law enforcement as 22-year-old Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez of Diamond Bar, California, was taken into custody near the scene of the crash. He was later arrested and booked on suspicion of attempted murder of a peace officer.
But, CBS LA reports, the driver was later released after authorities said they had “insufficient evidence.” The sheriff’s department said it will continue to investigate and may re-arrest Gutierrez.
The department did not release information that led to the conclusion that the accident was intentional.
The SUV was reportedly driving on the wrong side of the road and rammed into a group of 75 cadets who were on a morning run.
According to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, 25 people were injured and taken to various hospitals.
“Tragedy struck our department,” Villanueva said during a news conference Wednesday.
Five victims were in critical condition, four with “moderate” injuries and 14 with minor injuries, firefighters reported.
Villanueva said the driver passed an alcohol breathalyzer test.
The training class included recruits from various law enforcement agencies, and the group of injured trainees included two each from the Bell and Glendale police departments and one from the Pasadena police department, he said. The rest were sheriff’s department trainees.