November 30, 2023

Driver asleep in crash that hurt sheriff recruits, lawyer says

Driver asleep in crash that hurt sheriff recruits, lawyer says

Hard the claims of L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva that a crash final 7 days that injured a team of recruits on a instruction run in South Whittier was intentional, the lawyer for the 22-year-previous driver named it “a tragic accident” that happened when the male fell asleep at the wheel although on his way to perform.

The driver, Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez of Diamond Bar, was traveling in a Honda CR-V on Wednesday morning to his occupation as an electrical engineer for a photo voltaic panel business, his legal professional, Alexandra Kazarian, reported Monday.

“He’s a very good kid that fell asleep on his way to do the job early in the morning,” Kazarian said.

The recruits — the vast majority of them from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Office — were working in four columns, accompanied by drill instructors and two black-and-white radio vehicles, when an SUV veered on to the incorrect facet of the highway and into the team about 6:30 a.m. close to the sheriff’s STARS Center schooling academy.

The runners at the front of the development have been able to get out of the way prior to the SUV struck others and crashed into a gentle pole, authorities reported.

In an job interview with NewsNation very last week, Villanueva said that investigators experienced “developed possible result in to believe [the crash] was intentional.” Villanueva later verified to The Periods there was possible bring about to arrest the driver on suspicion of tried murder due to the fact of proof he intentionally ran into the recruits.

“I have no idea why the sheriff explained that,” Kazarian explained. “All indications in the preliminary investigation are that there’s no proof in any respect that this was intentional.”

A Breathalyzer test was administered at the scene, and authorities found no evidence of alcohol, Villanueva stated, noting that the driver “blew a ..” But authorities are functioning to decide irrespective of whether Gutierrez was beneath the influence of other controlled substances at the time of the crash. A legislation enforcement supply acquainted with the investigation said marijuana was recovered from the driver’s motor vehicle.

Kazarian said Gutierrez was taken to the hospital and received toxicology and sobriety tests. “Everything arrived again unfavorable,” she said.

Gutierrez comes from a law enforcement relatives, Kazarian reported. His father is a retired corrections officer and he has uncles in the Los Angeles Law enforcement Department, the California Highway Patrol and the Sheriff’s Section.

“He harbors completely no animosity towards regulation enforcement,” Kazarian said. She additional that reports that Gutierrez was a disgruntled academy recruit are “completely incorrect.” He “never had any affiliation with becoming a recruit,” she mentioned.

Gutierrez was launched from custody Thursday after investigators said they necessary more time to obtain evidence and could not lawfully keep him for more than 48 several hours with out presenting the circumstance to prosecutors.

In an interview with KNBC-Television Channel 4, Gutierrez also said that he “didn’t intentionally do it.”

“I want it hardly ever took place. I feel lousy it happened,” he mentioned. He instructed the information outlet he was dragged from his Honda athletics utility motor vehicle.

“They attempted to say that I did it deliberately, which I didn’t,” he mentioned. “I retained on telling them I didn’t. I requested if everything was Ok.”

Kazarian stated that Gutierrez was wounded right after the crash and that “it was not a final result of the air luggage or the incident itself.” She wouldn’t give any even further information.

As of Sunday, 4 recruits from Sheriff’s Academy Course 464 remained in significant problem. One recruit, Alejandro Martinez, experienced endured setbacks that still left him in grave condition.

Martinez suffered brain inflammation, compound femur fractures, a collapsed lung and destruction to various organs and had been positioned on a ventilator, according to resources familiar with the incident but who had been not authorized to converse publicly about the subject.

Villanueva claimed he swore in Martinez as a entire deputy Sunday.

“His lifestyle ambition is to be a deputy sheriff,” Villanueva reported.

Three people stand together near the scene of a car accident in Whittier.

Family users of the suspect stand near the scene of the crash.

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Moments)