UPDATED with new details: Veteran Los Angeles TV reporter Hal Eisner and his KTTV cameraman Joab Perez operator were among five people injured today when a SUV hit several bystanders on a Hollywood Boulevard sidewalk and crashed into a minimarket storefront.
The cause of the roughly 3:15 p.m. crash is under investigation, but Los Angeles Police said the male driver appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and was arrested for DUI after failing a field sobriety test. Police said he told them he fell asleep at the wheel.
In her report for the 5 p.m. newscast, an emotional Fox11 reporter Koco McAboy said the crew was working on a story from outside the El Capitan about area movie theaters reopening when the crash occurred. “We’re told that everyone right now has non-life threatening injuries,” she added.
Hollywood Division police said four victims were transported to a trauma center and all in stable condition. The L.A. Fire Department initially reported that some were critical. One person was trapped under the vehicle, according to media reports. Another injured person declined to be transported.
KTTV assignment and planning editor Lynette Guzman tweeted this from the scene:
BREAKING: Vehicle crashed into a building in Hollywood, striking pedestrians – two of which were OUR crew members working a story. Not sure what caused the crash, but praying everyone is ok! Near Hollywood x Highland @FOXLA @LAFD #skyfox pic.twitter.com/D6PyRBCVA6
— Lisette Guzman (@lisetteg) March 19, 2021
The white SUV crashed into the Highland Market storefront at 6820 Hollywood Blvd., just steps from the Disney-owned El Capitan and across the street from the Dolby Theatre and the Hollywood & Highland complex. No one inside the store was injured.
Hollywood Boulevard was closed in both directions, and police are asking people to stay away from the area.
Major traffic collision in the area of Hollywood & Highland. Preliminary reports of five pedestrians struck by a vehicle, with three of the victims listed in critical condition. Please avoid the area. pic.twitter.com/VmBfIMkVSB
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) March 19, 2021
McAboy said on-air that Eisner was interviewing the chairman of the Starline Tours on camera moments before the crash happened.
Fox11 said Perez has worked at KTTV for nearly three years. He also has a News Emmy to his credit.
ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which originates from the El Capitan Entertainment Center adjacent to the theater, was not scheduled to tape tonight.
City News Service contributed to this report.