LOS ANGELES – A wrong-way driver who mowed down 25 academy recruits with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, killing one, in Whittier last November, was charged with 10 felonies and a misdemeanor, officials announced on Thursday.
The motorist who struck the cadets on Nov. 16, 2022 at about 6:30 a.m. was identified as Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, now 23, of Diamond Bar. Although he was arrested after the horrific incident occurred, he was subsequently released pending further investigation. He told reporters in 2022 that he fell asleep at the wheel.
Now Gutierrez faces one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and nine felony counts of reckless driving causing great bodily injury. He also faces a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter with simple negligence, according to the District Attorney’s Office, FOX 11 Los Angeles reported.
The charges stem from the crash that occurred last November in the 10600 block of Mills Avenue, near Telegraph Road, just blocks from LASD STARS Training Academy in Whittier.
About 75 law enforcement recruits were participating in a class run heading north when a southbound SUV swerved to the opposite side of the road and plowed into them, leaving a trail of injured bodies.
At the time of the crash, LASD officials said 25 recruits suffered injuries, with five listed in critical condition, four were moderately injured, and 16 others sustained minor injuries.
In July 2023, one of the critically injured deputies succumbed to his wounds and died. He was identified as 27-year-old Alejandro Martinez, Law Officer reported.
Gutierrez was re-arrested this week once formal charges were filed, according to the California Highway Patrol. He is expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Bellflower.
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