Sheriff's deputy struck by vehicle is in critical condition
A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy is in critical condition after being struck by a vehicle Saturday morning near the Gold Line tracks in East Los Angeles, sheriff's officials said.
Deputy Rudy Juarez, 50, of the sheriff's Transit Services Bureau is being treated for severe head injuries and broken bones in an intensive-care unit at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Saturday afternoon. Juarez was unconscious but breathing on his own.
"The next 24 hours are vital," Whitmore said.
Juarez's family and colleagues filled the hospital and were "understandably distraught," he said. "They're hopeful and praying for him to pull through."
At about 6:15 a.m., Juarez was assisting a stranded motorist in a vehicle at an underpass near the Gold Line tracks at East 3rd Street and Downey Road. The area was dark, and one of the underpass's ceiling lights appears to have not been working, Whitmore said.
Juarez was struck by a passing vehicle in a "tremendous collision," Whitmore said.
The driver of the vehicle that hit Juarez stayed at the scene and has been cooperating with authorities investigating the incident, Whitmore said. The driver of that vehicle was not impaired, and the collision appears to have been an accident, he said.
Juarez is a 17-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department, Whitmore said.
"He's the kind of guy who never complains," Whitmore said. "He has a tremendous passion for his work, and he makes everybody around him just feel better."
-- Hailey Branson-Potts
Top Photo: Sheriff Lee Baca, right, visits the accident scene where Deputy Rudy Juarez was struck by a car and critically injured Saturday. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times. Lower photo: Deputy Rudy Juarez. Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.