SIMI VALLY, Calif. — At least one police officer has been taken to hospital with serious injuries after a crash involving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s motorcade Friday night outside of Los Angeles.
The California Highway Patrol officer was taken to hospital with what the force described as non-life threatening, but serious injuries — a category that could include a large abrasion with bleeding, or broken bones.
At the scene, the officer’s motorcycle was on its side and debris was spread across the four lanes of roadway.
The bumper of a black, 2008 Toyota Highlander was also on the ground. The rear passenger corner of the vehicle was mangled, with metal hanging off the body of the car.
The prime minister’s vehicle was not involved in the collision. Officials say Trudeau is aware of what happened and his staff are in contact with local authorities looking into the incident.
The accident happened just after the motorcade left the Ronald Reagan presidential library where Trudeau had given an address touting the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Sgt. Saul Gomez with the highway patrol said a motorcycle officer who was part of the motorcade and riding ahead of the prime minister’s vehicle tried to stop all vehicle traffic along a road not far from the Reagan library.
But a vehicle made a left turn and the two collided in the intersection.
The female driver of the car and her child were taken to hospital as a precautionary measure, Gomez said.
The road was closed for several hours as investigators combed the scene.
Nivea Bustanante, who lives nearby, said she heard a crash and went outside to check what happened. She said she saw one officer on the ground and another officer pulling over the Toyota in front of her neighbour’s house.
She said she only saw one person taken in an ambulance — the officer involved in the crash.
“The lady in the car, she was just afraid,” Bustanante said.
“She was making a left turn and then she was very scared. She looked very scared.”
Gomez said the crash is being investigated as a simple accident. He said police didn’t see any signs of impairment in the SUV driver, but will look into whether it played a role in the collision.
If the driver is considered to be at fault, then she could face charges, Gomez said.
Trudeau will be in Los Angeles for a media event Saturday morning with the city’s mayor before travelling back to the national capital.
Jordan Press, The Canadian Press