BREA, Calif. - An injured demonstrator is describing a frightening clash with a Brea motorist who drove through a throng of protesters.
"It was something that I had never felt as I had never come too close to thinking of dying, especially getting ran over," said Ivan Cuevas, the first of six people hit by the vehicle, who suffered minor injuries.
Cuevas says he was in charge of safety at the SEIU protest and as it ended was herding the group toward a bus. Some in the group had earlier tried to occupy the intersection of Brea Boulevard and Birch Street but left when police officers asked them to disperse.
The driver, 56-year old Daniel Wenzel, was briefly placed under arrest on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. But more evidence is needed to file charges.
Friday the protesters returned to the office of Congressman Ed Royce where the demonstration started Thursday. They called on the Republican to help renew legal status for 300,000 immigrants who were allowed to enter the United States because they were fleeing a natural disaster or war.
Many say that Thursday's incident has left them shaken and wondering what would have happened if Brea officers had not been present to stop the car, take the driver's keys and take him into custody.
Wenzel drives with handicapped license plates.
Protesters suspect a racial motive and that his actions were intentional.
"He came in front of me. He was honking at me, he was yelling, he was mad, he was telling me to move," said Cuevas.
Brea detectives today are asking for witness statements and videos as they mount a case against Wenzel and also determine whether protesters damaged his car.