Driver charged in Whittier wrong-way crash that killed LASD recruit, injured 24 others

By | November 10, 2023

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Charges have been filed against a wrong-way driver who crashed his SUV into a group of Los Angeles County sheriff’s recruits in Whittier last year, a crash that killed one recruit.

Nicholas Gutierrez, 23, was rearrested and charged with two counts of gross negligence manslaughter and nine counts of reckless driving causing serious bodily injury, prosecutors announced Thursday.

In November 2022, 25 law enforcement recruits were injured during training in Whittier after an SUV swerved to the opposite side of the road and struck the group. The recruits suffered injuries ranging from minor to serious.

Eight months after the crash, one of the recruits, 27 years old Alexandre Martinezdied from his injuries.

Wrong-way driver crashes into group of law enforcement recruits jogging in Whittier

Whittier crash injures 25 law enforcement recruits; 5 in critical condition after being hit

Gutierrez was initially arrested, but was released, with sheriff’s officials saying the complex case required further investigation.

“By filing formal charges against Nicholas Gutierrez, the justice system is taking an important step toward justice for this heartbreaking incident,” Prosecutor George Gascón said in a statement. “The goal is to provide a sense of justice and accountability for the lives lost and lives forever changed as a result of this tragic event.”

Gutierrez turned himself in Thursday afternoon and was released on $500,000 bail within two hours, according to online jail records. His arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday at the Bellflower Courthouse.

His lawyer, Alexandra Kazarian, said in a statement that her client and his family continue to cooperate with law enforcement in the case.

“Nicolas and his family are beyond devastated by this horrific, tragic accident,” the statement said.

If convicted as charged, Gutierrez would face a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison, according to prosecutors.

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