Lawyer Says Driver Fell Asleep Before Whittier Crash That Hurt Police Recruits

California’s WHITTIER (KABC) According to his counsel, the driver of the SUV who struck Los Angeles County law enforcement trainees during a training run last week dozed off behind the wheel on the way to work.

After the incident, Diamond Bar resident Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, 22, was detained on suspicion of trying to kill a peace officer, but he was quickly released because further proof was needed, according to authorities.

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The tragedy, according to attorney Alexandra Kazarian, was “a sad accident.” She claimed that Gutierrez had not stayed up late the previous night. She said he often leaves for work around five in the morning and drove that morning to his position as an electrical engineer for a solar panel firm.

She told Eyewitness News that “he’s a lovely kid who fell asleep on his way to work early in the morning.” She claimed that Gutierrez came from a family of law enforcement professionals, including a father who is a retired correctional officer and relatives who work for the LAPD, sheriff’s office, and CHP.

He has no ill will toward law enforcement, the woman claimed. 5 members of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s academy class were hurt in the Whittier crash on November 16, several of them critically. Authorities reported that Alejandro Martinez, one of the recruits, was in critical condition on Sunday. Three other people were still in serious condition.

The remainder of the law enforcement recruits, according to the Sheriff’s Department, have been discharged from the hospital. Investigators claim that Gutierrez purposefully rammed into the group of approximately 75 law enforcement recruits who were running as part of a training exercise. As a result, authorities detained Gutierrez. Recruits from sheriff’s offices and other police departments were in the academy class.

Investigators released Gutierrez the following day without going into detail about the proof they had for the arrest. Recruits and other witnesses who were present at the scene of the incident are said to have provided testimonies on which the allegation is founded, sources told ABC News.

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After initially stating that the collision appeared to be an accident, sheriff Alex Villanueva changed his opinion and now believes it might have been deliberate. Later, authorities added that the investigation remained ongoing and underlined that the decision was based on preliminary data.

Sheriff and police recruits were running in formation in the roadway when the accident happened. According to the authorities, the SUV went into the wrong side of the road, struck the recruits, and then hit a light pole.


  • Who Accidentally Hit The Cadets?

    Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, who is 22 years old, was let go Thursday night. A 22-year-old man from Diamond Bar was released Thursday night after being arrested on suspicion of trying to kill police officers in a crash Wednesday in South Whittier that hurt 25 recruits on a training run.

  • Who Hit The California Police Recruits?

    A strange thing has happened with the arrest of a man who is thought to have driven a car into a large group of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recruits, hurting 25 of them and killing five of them. Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez was taken into custody on Wednesday because police think he tried to kill them.

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