LAPD Officer Charged with Murder in Fatal DUI Crash
A deadly crash in 2017 on the 605 Freeway in Whittier has led to the arrest of an off-duty LAPD officer. The officer, 27-year-old Edgar Omar Verduzco, of Santa Ana, was charged with three counts each of murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, as well as drunk driving causing injury. He has also been discharged from his duty as an officer.
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Speed and alcohol believed to be factors
The crash took place last year on September 26, around 10:15 p.m. Verduzco was driving a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, headed southbound on the 605 in the carpool lane at an excessive speed. He had reportedly posted a video from a bar to his social media account just hours before the crash and CHP officers at the scene determined he was intoxicated based on field sobriety tests.
At the time of the accident, in the lane ahead of Verduzco, a 2014 Nissan was carrying three members of a family from Riverside – 52-year-old Maribel Davila, her 60-year-old husband Mario, and their 19-year-old son Oscar. A 2010 Scion driven by 32-year-old Berly Alvarado of Wilmington, accompanied by her 1-year-old son, was also traveling in the lane.
Three family members killed in DUI crash
According to investigators, while Verduzco was speeding, he struck the Nissan carrying the Davila family and their vehicle was launched toward the freeway divider wall where it caught fire. Verduzco’s vehicle then struck the Alvarado vehicle.
The Verduzco and the Alvarados were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries but all three members of the Davila family were killed in the crash. According to a fundraising site, the Davilas were actively involved in their community and left behind four other children.
This crash illustrates the serious consequences of drunk driving. Though arrests for DUI have steadily declined, the proportion of fatal crashes involving alcohol have increased to nearly 40%.
The law allows victims – both those personally involved in the crashes and the loved ones left behind because of a fatal DUI crash – to hold the driver and/or the establishment that served him or her alcohol responsible.
We help victims of DUI accidents in California
A DUI accident can leave a wake of immediate and long-term injuries and losses. The impact of the sudden death of a loved one is life-altering in itself but it also carries lasting effects like loss of the individual’s emotional and financial support. Physical injuries can cause instant disabilities and impairments but an inability to work during recover can cause a pile-up of crushing medical bills.
The Los Angeles car accident lawyers at Ellis Injury Law have secured millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of clients throughout Southern California. Call 310-641-3335 today and speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to find out how we can help you.
Additional Resources on the Whittier DUI Crash:
1. ABC7, LAPD officer charged in suspected DUI crash that killed 3 on 605 Freeway, http://abc7.com/lapd-officer-charged-in-suspected-dui-crash-that-killed-3/3370744/
2. LA Times, LAPD officer arrested on 3 counts of murder in suspected DUI crash in Whittier, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-verduzco-arrest-20180420-story.html