A driver plowed into pedestrians on Venice’s famed boardwalk Saturday evening, striking at least a dozen people and killing one, authorities said.
Another person was critically injured, two more suffered serious injuries and the rest sustained minor injuries, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said. He said a total of 10 people accepted transportation to hospitals.
Los Angeles police said late Saturday that the driver of what witnesses described as a dark-colored sedan fled the scene.
Late Saturday, authorities said a person of interest was being questioned in connection with the incident.
That person’s name and gender were not released. Humphrey said his agency had been told only that the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide division was on the scene and that it remained “a very active investigation.”
Witnesses said they believed the driver was traveling about 60 mph — others cited slower speeds — when the crash occurred about 6 p.m. near the boardwalk’s intersection with Dudley Avenue, just before the sun began to set on the tourist haven. Witnesses said “scores of people” were walking along the beach.
“The vehicle appeared to be moving purposefully down the boardwalk, according to witnesses,” Humphrey said. He said firefighters responding to the scene thought the driver might have had some kind of medical emergency, but the vehicle did not stop. He said the driver “is not known” to the LAFD.
“A car plowed through the boardwalk,” said Daniel Regidor, 50, who was running nearby when the crash occurred.
“People screaming, running. I was half a mile from the scene, but you could see just this mass of people trying to get out of the way.... Just a lot of people screaming.... It was horrible.
“I saw somebody flying up in the air,” Regidor said. “When I came upon the scene, there were a bunch of people on the ground, bloodied.”
Daniel Jenkins, 19, was selling medical marijuana-related art and souvenirs on the pedestrian walkway and witnessed the incident.
Jenkins said he saw a blue Charger turn off a side street onto the pedestrian walkway going about 35 mph.
“He started basically losing control,” Jenkins said.
He said he saw the vehicle hit a woman who sells turtles and a man who appeared to be homeless.
“All the turtles flew everywhere,” as did mannequins outside of storefronts, Jenkins said..
He said the vehicle appeared to speed up after it hit the pedestrians and “zoomed all the way down” for several blocks.
The LAPD had no immediate description of the car or driver, and officers at the LAPD’s Pacific Station would give no information on the crash.
The famed boardwalk is a cultural hub known for its eccentricities. Galleries, restaurants, tattoo shops, skateboard parks and the famous outdoor weight room known as Muscle Beach attract locals and tourists alike.
The crash spurred many, including nearby lifeguards, to race “to the aid of strangers,” Humphrey said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.