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.