Carole Lynch said she is close friends with the wife of one of the victims who is being identified only as Jose at this time. Jose is a husband and father of two.
"The first thing they [Jose's family] said to me was, 'Thank God he's alive.' They're so thankful and grateful that he's alive and with us. Right now, we're just focused on him and his family, and the other cadets that were hurt too," said Lynch.
Lynch never imagined Jose would be on the wrong end of a horrific incident like the crash that happened Wednesday in Whittier.
"I was shocked, as was his wife who was shocked as well. I never thought he would be one of the ones injured by this," said Lynch.
Lynch said Jose has several serious injuries and could face a foot amputation.
"He does have bleeding of the brain. He has a broken nose. He has a pulmonary embolism. I know the bone in his elbow was sticking out, and he had surgery on that last night. He has several cracked ribs, a broken knee, broken leg and broken ankle. His foot was so mangled that they didn't know if they could save it. Last night they did surgery on that and they're gonna do another surgery tomorow morning [Saturday] on the foot and tomorrow morning will determine whether or not they're able to save his foot," said Lynch.
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Jose served in the Marine Corps for several years and was fulfilling another dream.
"He couldn't wait to join the LA County Sheriffs Department so he finally got in and was eight weeks into his training," said Lynch.
Lynch said Jose is a caring man and helped her family when she lost her husband.
"He's generous. He's giving and will give the shirt off his back for anybody," said Lynch.
FOX 11 cameras captured the suspect, 22-year-old Nicholas Gutierrez, leaving his Diamond Bar home Friday. Gutierrez was released from detention on Thursday evening. California Highway Patrol officials are now taking over the investigation to build a case.
The California Highway Patrol said the collision was reported at 6:25 a.m. Wednesday near the intersection of Mills Avenue and Telegraph Road. CHP Capt. Charlie Sampson said Gutierrez was going southbound on Mills Avenue when he veered into the opposing lanes and struck the victims going northbound while out on a morning training run.
The members of Academy Class 464 attend the Sheriff’s Training Academy and Regional Services (STARS) Center located in the 11500 block of Colima Road, roughly a mile and a half from the crash site.
Gutierrez suffered minor injuries in the horrific collision and was hospitalized. He underwent a sobriety test at the scene and Villanueva later confirmed he passed the breathalyzer test. Toxicology reports could take weeks to come in. The sheriff did confirm marijuana was found in the car.
The attorney for Gutierrez released the following statement:
"Nicholas comes from a proud law enforcement family and the injuries to these recruits is beyond heartbreaking. The Gutierrez family appreciates the Sheriff’s Department taking the time to conduct a full and complete investigation. As many have asked, we want to emphasize that Nicholas was on his way to work, and had no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of this tragic accident."
Jose's family is raising money via GoFundMe to help with medical expenses. Those looking to help can click here.