Drunk driver who struck 5 pedestrians including FOX 11 crew blew nearly double legal limit
LOS ANGELES - A drunk driver who struck five pedestrians last week in Hollywood including two FOX 11 crew members had a blood alcohol content of .15, nearly double the legal limit, authorities said.
The FOX 11 crew members -- reporter Hal Eisner and photojournalist Joab Perez -- were working on a story about the reopening of El Capitan Theatre on West Hollywood Boulevard as Los Angeles County entered the less-restrictive red tier earlier in the week.
The crash was reported around 3:15 p.m. Friday on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame in the 6800 block of W. Hollywood Boulevard.
Eisner and Perez were both taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Firefighters on scene said four others -- two of which were tourists from Washington -- were hurt but one of them refused to be taken to the hospital.
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Eisner and Perez were in the middle of an interview when they were caught off guard by an ambulance approaching. Eisner, Perez and two tourists from Washington were focused on the ambulance when a drunk driver came from the other direction, crashing into all of them in front of the Highland Market store.
"I felt something pass me and I look back and this car just went straight through. I’m shocked, a big surprise," said one witness who was talking to Eisner before the impact.
Police conducted DUI tests on the driver at the scene. He was then placed under arrest under the suspicion of Driving Under the Influence. The suspect told police he fell asleep at the wheel before he was taken to the hospital in LAPD custody.
"By the grace of God we have not lost someone, we got five very significant injuries and to see this accident behind me is just so disheartening. A DUI driver that is so reckless in his actions as to cause this collision is just heartbreaking," said Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore.
All of their injuries are non-life threatening.
Eisner and Perez are still hospitalized but are awake and in good spirits. Eisner even got a chance to watch FOX 11 News at 5 p.m from his hospital bed to see his colleagues' report.
Hal Eisner has worked in television news in Los Angeles for more than 39 years, with most of those years being with FOX 11 and My 13. He is the host of In Depth and has a podcast titled, What the Hal? Eisner also organizes an annual news camp for young students aspiring to be journalists. Camp News has been taking place for over 20 years.
Joab Perez has been with FOX 11 for nearly three years. Anchor Elex Michaelson says Perez brings "passion and positivity to every story he works on." Perez recently became a father.
Messages of love and support have been flooding in for the two journalists… all wishing for a speedy recovery.
Feel free to leave a message of support on the FOXLA Facebook page or Instagram.
Veteran FOX 11 reporter Hal Eisner gave an update on social media Saturday night after he was injured along with four other people when an SUV driven by an allegedly drunk driver crashed into a storefront on Hollywood Boulevard Friday.
Eisner wrote, "As I lay here in a hospital bed at Cedars-Sinai I want to take a minute to say thank you, I love you, you're amazing and I'm grateful. I'm grateful to be alive," he said. "I'm grateful for all of our heartfelt comments and the many feelings you've expressed since Friday's awful auto-pedestrian crash that involved FOX11 photographer Joab Perez, myself and three other people on Hollywood Blvd. "...I have a gash on my right hand, a knee fracture and pretty serious and painful back spasms. I have a leg brace, my hand is wrapped and the spasms are very painful. But, I will get over this. One of the best meds has been your caring and outreach! Thank you for your love and support! Hugs!"
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FOX 11's Alexi Chidbachian, Mary Stringini and Shelly Insheiwat contributed to this report.