4 hospitalized after car slams into L.A. homeless encampment

An investigation is underway after four people were hospitalized when a car crashed into a homeless encampment in Los Angeles early Tuesday morning. The crash was reported about 6 a.m. Al Seib Los Angeles Times/TNS

LOS ANGELES — Four people were hospitalized after two cars collided in Los Angeles early Tuesday morning, sending one vehicle careening into a sidewalk homeless encampment and trapping a person underneath the car, authorities said.

A silver Toyota Corolla traveling east on 5th Street collided with a white Dodge Dart at the intersection with Virgil Avenue around 6 a.m., slamming the Dart into the encampment in the Koreatown neighborhood, said Capt. Erik Scott, a public information officer with the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The Dodge struck a large palm tree and pinned a man who was sleeping on a couch on the sidewalk, Scott said. The man was alert and speaking when emergency responders arrived, he said.

Firefighters used a massive apparatus known as Heavy Rescue 3 to hoist the vehicle and free the man, who was transported to a nearby trauma center, officials said.

“Fortunately this was not a fatal incident,” Scott said.

The life of the man who was sleeping on a couch likely was saved because he was “higher off the ground, and (the couch provided) some additional cushion and protection around that individual,” he said.

Five people were in the two cars that collided — three in the Dodge and two in the Corolla, Scott said. Three of them were taken to the hospital, authorities said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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