By Edwin Folven, 11/01/2012
Towncar plunges over embankment in Hollywood
Seven people were injured on Oct. 27 when a limousine careened over a steep embankment and fell nearly 20 feet to the ground below.
Det. Zachary Hutchings, with the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Traffic Bureau, said the incident occurred at approximately 4:50 a.m. near the intersection of Cerritos Place and Bella Vista Way, located in a hilly area near Cahuenga Boulevard and the southbound Hollywood (101) Freeway.
Hutchings said the limousine driver was parked on a residential street and reportedly thought he was shifting into reverse to back up, but actually shifted into drive and accelerated forward. The Lincoln Towncar struck an unoccupied parked Chevy Cruze, causing both cars to plunge down an embankment and land in the driveway of an apartment building in the 1900 block of Wilcox Avenue.
Paramedics transported all occupants of the limousine to the hospital. Their injuries were described by Hutchings as non-life threatening.
“They all suffered varying degrees of injuries, from abrasions, lacerations and swollen limbs to a sprained foot,” Hutchings said. “Luckily, no one was more seriously injured. I guess it could have been a lot worse.”
Hutchings said the limo driver was picking people up at the location, and media reports indicated the passengers were at an after-party at a private residence. None of the individuals involved were identified, and Hutchings said the driver was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He will not be cited, Hutchings added.
“It was an unfortunate accident,” he added. “It was definitely an E-ticket ride.”
Hutchings said reports from officers at the scene identified the limousine company as Towncar Services, but he did not have any further information. George Smith, of Los Angeles Limousine, said his company represents five of the largest limo companies in the city, and added that he has never heard of Towncar Services. He said it is common for limousines to be driven by independent operators who advertise through the Internet and are “one man” companies.
“It definitely sounds like driver error,” he said. “In twenty years in the business, I have never heard of anything like that.”
Smith added that state law requires extended limousine drivers to undergo special training, and they must obtain a Class B license from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Smith added, however, that anyone with a Class C license can drive a town car, and it does not require any special training.
“We see a lot of violators,” Smith added. “Another problem is they don’t keep current with their registration permit from the transportation commission. There are a lot of them running around out there.”
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