A 17-year deputy who was hit by a car while helping a stranded motorist was sedated, unconscious and being closely monitored by doctors at a hospital, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said on Saturday.
Rudy Juarez was hit near Third Street and Downey Road in unincorporated East LA at 6:15 a.m. A motorist traveling 35 mph hit him in an apparent accident, officials said.
He suffered from severe head trauma and broken bones, Baca said.
At a press conference outside County-USC Medical Center, Baca said the first 24 hours after severe trauma were the most critical. Juarez had brain swelling and was in intensive care at the hospital.
"Accidents do happen," Baca said. "And in our business, unfortunately sometimes we are the victims in an accident. That's what this appears to be."
Baca called Juarez an experienced deputy who was also a humanitarian. He was with other deputies investigating a report of a stranded or abandoned car near the Gold Line Metro tracks, officials said.
"Deputy Juarez is an amazing person," Baca said. "He's friendly, outgoing and a beloved individual."
"We are unified in his effort to recover."