LOS ANGELES – A deputy recruit with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department who was struck by a wrong-way driver while jogging with an academy class of recruits in South Whittier died last week after being hospitalized for the past eight months, according to a report.
LASD Recruit Alejandro Martinez, 27, passed away at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Friday evening surrounded by his family, friends, Sheriff Robert Luna and other department members, KTLA reported.
Martinez, who was an Army veteran and Cal State Northridge graduate, was among 75 recruits who were participating in a training run about 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 16, 2022. The driver of the striking car was identified as Nicholas Gutierrez, 22, from Diamond Bar.
Gutierrez plowed into the large group with his SUV. The horrific crash left 25 academy recruits injured at the time; five were considered critical while three were classified as serious.
Following the tragedy, Martinez was rushed to the hospital among those in critical condition. He suffered internal bleeding, brain swelling, and broken legs. He remained hospitalized until he died Friday night.
“Alejandro has now gone to his eternal resting place,” LASD said in a statement. “Tragically, he was not able to fulfill his calling of helping others. Our condolences go out to Alejandro’s family, friends, and academy classmates. He will forever live in our hearts and never be forgotten. Words cannot express the extent of our gratitude to everyone who assisted, and continue to assist, and helped ease the burden of that very difficult day.”
The sheriff previously said investigators believe Gutierrez intentionally struck the recruits. The defendant’s attorney claimed his client simply fell asleep while driving to work as an electrician.
Reportedly no drugs or alcohol were found in his system. He was initially taken into custody and later released pending further investigation.
Legal analyst Alison Triessl, of KTLA, spoke of the potential charges the suspect could face since Martinez has now died.