Nearly a year after a driver plowed into a large group of jogging law enforcement cadets in South Whittier, prosecutors have announced felony charges in the case.
Nicholas Gutierrez, 23, faces one count of vehicular manslaughter and nine counts of reckless driving resulting in injury, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said at a news conference on Thursday.
If convicted, Gutierrez could face up to 12 years in prison.
The Nov. 15, 2022 crash, which was captured on surveillance video, shows a vehicle swerve into the path of several dozen recruits who were on a training run in the area of Mills Avenue and Telegraph Road.
In total, 25 cadets were hurt, five critically.
Alejandro Martinez, 23, a U.S. Army Veteran, died of his injuries eight months later.
“This man was a true hero,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna. “Before he joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Academy, he was an elementary after-school coordinator and a soccer coach at a local neighborhood park.”
“Even after almost a year, the profound loss of Alejandro Martinez-Inzunza and the lasting impact on the injured recruits continue to deeply affect the community,” said Gascón.
Former L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva initially claimed the crash was intentional, but Gutierrez’s attorney has claimed her client fell asleep while driving to work as an electrician installing solar panels.