An off-duty LAPD officer was arrested following a suspected DUI crash that killed a teenage boy and his parents on the 605 Freeway late Tuesday night, authorities said Wednesday.
Edgar Verduzco, 26, was driving a 2016 Chevy Camaro “at a high rate of speed” on the southbound 605 when he rear-ended two vehicles — a 2014 Nissan and a 2010 Scion — south of Saragosa Street at around 10:15 p.m., according to a California Highway Patrol news release.
The impact caused the Nissan to catch fire and become fully engulfed in flames, trapping all three occupants inside. Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics arrived at the scene a short time later and pronounced all three dead, the release stated.
Their names have not been released by L.A. County coroner’s officials, who told KTLA the bodies were very badly burned and it would take some time to identify them.
But family members confirmed they were parents Maribel and Mario Davila and their teenage son, Oscar. The Riverside family includes three other sons, all older than Oscar, who were not involved in the crash.
The Scion driver, identified only as a 31-year-old woman, suffered minor injuries in the collision. It was unclear whether she was taken to a hospital.
Verduzco, who sustained a broken nose in the collision, was arrested, the release stated. Alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the crash, according to CHP.
Shortly before the crash, video posted on his Instagram account had the hashtag #dontdrinkanddrive. It was apparently filmed at a bar, and beer glasses could be seen in the background.
The suspect was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter, Perez said. He is being held on $100,000 bail, inmate records showed.
Verduzco is an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department who was off-duty at the time, according to CHP.
“I cannot tell you how angry and disappointed I am that a Los Angeles police officer would disregard the law and cause an accident with such awful, awful consequences,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said during an early-afternoon news conference, where he delivered brief remarks about the arrest.
Verduzco worked in the department for about two years, Beck said, describing his time at LAPD as “unremarkable.” The officer came to the department from the U.S. Army, where he had served for about four years.
The chief added that he believed Verduzco had served in Afghanistan.
Earlier Beck released a statement regarding the crash, saying that the department sends its “deepest sympathies” to the family, and that an administrative investigation is underway.
“The Department has no tolerance for driving under the influence and holds its officers to the highest standards of professionalism both on and off-duty,” he wrote in the statement. “It is particularly troubling when one of our own police officers violates drunk driving laws, which is why a drunk driving offense always results in a personnel complaint which can lead to dismissal.”
The crash, which remains under investigation, prompted the hourslong closure of the 605 Freeway overnight. All lanes were reopened Wednesday morning.
KTLA’s Jennifer Thang and Sarah Fenton contributed to this story.