By Michael Finnegan and David Zahniser
10:10 PM PST, January 14, 2014
A 60-year-old woman was hospitalized Tuesday after being struck by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's vehicle in downtown Los Angeles, authorities said.
Garcetti, a passenger, was talking on the phone with a reporter from the Economist when the accident occurred and did not see what happened, according to the mayor's office.
The black sport utility vehicle, driven by a police officer, hit the woman just outside the Los Angeles Times building at 2nd and Spring streets. The accident was captured by a Times security camera.
The pedestrian, whom authorities declined to identify, "was stable and alert, responding to our paramedics" before they rushed her to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, said Battalion Chief Stephen J. Ruda of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Hospital spokeswoman Rosa Saca said the woman was admitted overnight, and her condition was stable.
"I'm very concerned about her and wish her a speedy recovery," Garcetti said in a statement. "I look forward to speaking with her soon."
Garcetti's vehicle was heading east on 2nd toward City Hall when it hit the pedestrian.
Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the woman appeared to be crossing 2nd against the light when the accident occurred, but further investigation was needed.
The Times video showed only part of the scene because of the camera's angle. It appears to show the pedestrian was struck as Garcetti's SUV was passing a pickup truck stopped in the crosswalk.
Garcetti's car turned the corner and stopped. Two people got out of Garcetti's car and appeared to approach the pedestrian, who was evidently on the ground in the street. An LAPD patrol car immediately pulled up. Police headquarters is across the street.
At least one person got back into Garcetti's vehicle. Just over two minutes after the accident, Garcetti's vehicle pulled away, heading south on Spring.
By then, Smith said, the mayor's LAPD driver had already checked on the woman's condition, told the other officers at the scene what had happened, and determined paramedics were on the way. He had also told the officer that he needed to take Garcetti to City Hall, but that the mayor and two other witnesses who were in the car would be available for interviews once investigators were ready, Smith said.
According to the Fire Department, an ambulance and fire engine arrived about three minutes after Garcetti's vehicle left the scene.
After dropping off the mayor, the officer at the wheel when the pedestrian was hit returned the vehicle to the scene, Smith said. Within an hour, police had interviewed Garcetti and the other two passengers, and the police driver also provided a statement, Smith said.
"This, by all appearances, was a relatively minor collision, except that the mayor's driver was involved," Smith said.
In 2007, Garcetti — then a city councilman — hit a pedestrian while driving a city-owned vehicle on Echo Park Avenue in Echo Park. The woman was crossing the street and Garcetti wasn't cited, according to records and city officials. A year later, the city paid the woman $7,500 to settle a legal claim.
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