Sunbather Hit by County Truck at Venice Beach

Maintenance worker did not see sunbather on the beach before hitting her

A woman sunbathing at Venice Beach was in critical condition Wednesday after being hit by a county maintenance worker's truck.

The 49-year-old woman, who was not immediately identified, was lying face down in the sand on Via Marina Peninsula beach around 10:30 a.m. when she was hit by a 2 ton, Nissan Xterra driven by a veteran county employee.

Residents in the area said they weren't shocked by the incident but surprised.

"The amount of traffic on the beach is unacceptable," Bob Mannheimer said, who lives in Venice Beach. "There should be a little more focus on efficiency."

Mannheimer also expressed his concern for what he believed was unnecessary trips taken by county workers on the beach.

"They take trips back and forth where nothing's going on," he said.

Accidents of this nature, although unlikely, have happened before.

A woman was killed in 2006 when an Oxnard Police Officer, who was patrolling the beach, ran over her with his SUV. Oxnard Police Chief John Crombach told the LA Times at the time,"We've been patrolling beaches for at least 30 years, since the mid-1970s, and nothing like this has ever happened."

Wednesday's accident was the first of its kind for LA County in 25 years.

Before the incident, the maintenance worker stopped his vehicle near the woman to survey some debris on the beach and arrange for its removal, according to a statement issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors.

"She was laying very close to the shoreline. She wasn't in the wet sand, but she was in the dry sand very close to it," said Carol Baker, a spokeswoman for Department of Beaches and Harbors.

Baker said there were other witnesses on the beach at the time.

The driver didn’t see her on the beach and struck her with the vehicle as he attempted to leave, Baker said. He stopped to help once he realized he'd struck someone. His name was not immediately released.

The woman was alert following the incident, and was taken to UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, where she was listed in serious condition.

Los Angeles Police Department investigators responded to the scene, and the driver,  was questioned and later released.

The case is now being handeld by the LAPD Traffic Divison. No charges were filed as of Thursday.

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