Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, 22, is the suspect in the attempted murder of officers in the Wednesday morning incident
< i class="i-share-btn twitter"> A vehicle struck a group of police cadets
Authorities arrested a 22-year-old driver on suspicion of attempted of murder for allegedly running his vehicle into a group of Los Angeles County Police Academy recruits who were on a training run. In the crash, 25 people were injured.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement Thursday that Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez was arrested Wednesday in an attempted murder investigation.
Authorities have said a man driving an SUV early Wednesday swerved into the wrong side of the highway in suburban Whittier and collided with recruits. Five of them were seriously injured.
The scene after the crash was chaotic and authorities said it looked like a plane crash. Officers received help from a nearby county fire station and immediately transported some of the most seriously injured directly to hospitals.
A test determined that Gutierrez had no traces of alcohol in his the blood.
An investigator drives past a wrecked SUV that struck police officers Los Angeles County Sheriff's recruits in Whittier, Calif., on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022 (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Online jail records show Gutierrez will appear before the court on Friday. It was not immediately known if Gutierrez has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.
There were about 75 Los Angeles Police Department recruits and various local police agencies running in formation on the street just before 6:30 a.m. when the accident happened. They wore white T-shirts and green shorts, and were accompanied by two black-and-white radio cars and eight highway guards wearing reflective vests for safety, sheriff's officials said.
Sheriff's authorities have yet to present their case against Gutierrez to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office for prosecution and said they expect to do so on Friday.
Ambrosio E. Rodriguez, a defense attorney who previously worked as a prosecutor in nearby Riverside County, said to bring an attempted murder charge, prosecutors would have to prove Gutierrez had intent to kill. p>
“There is a high bar to prove it, to show that this guy was trying to kill these cadets,” he said. He added that the evidence obtained from the vehicle could be critical, and that a key question is whether the driver braked while the vehicle was moving toward the recruits.
“If you are slamming on the brakes and you Realizing you're doing something wrong is a lot different than if you're pressing the accelerator,” he said.
(With information from AP)