A suspected DUI driver in a Northridge crash that killed two people, including an off-duty officer, and injured a deputy was charged with murder on Thursday.
The suspect, Brian Olivarez, 20, was charged with the murders of Los Angeles Police Officer Darrell Cunningham and his passenger, Jorge Soriano, while seriously injuring two others, according to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office.
The crash happened on Nov. 4 near the intersection of Roscoe Boulevard and Lindley Avenue around 1:15 a.m.
Cunningham was driving with an off-duty San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department deputy and another passenger in a white Infiniti on Lindley Avenue when he was hit by a speeding car.
The suspect, Olivarez, had failed to stop at a red light as he was going over 100 miles per hour, police said.
Olivarez was also suspected of being under the influence of alcohol at the time, said LAPD.
After striking Cunningham’s vehicle, Olivarez then crashed into a nearby apartment. The resident in that apartment told KTLA that the car’s tire nearly landed in her kitchen sink when it burst through her windows.
Cunningham and Soriano, who was sitting in the right passenger seat, were both killed at the scene.
The off-duty SBSD deputy in Cunningham’s car was hospitalized with severe injuries but survived, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said.
A female passenger in the suspect’s vehicle was able to exit the wreckage herself, authorities said. She suffered serious injuries but also survived.
Cunningham, who had worked for the LAPD West L.A. Division for just under five years, is survived by his fiancée, two sons — ages six and three — his mother and two brothers.
“I am profoundly saddened by the senseless loss of Officer Darrell Cunningham and his long-time friend Jorge Soriano, which resulted from the reckless and criminal actions of Brian Olivarez,” said LAPD Chief Michel Moore. “I am grateful for the outstanding investigative work of our seasoned detectives in gathering the evidence to support these criminal charges and hope it brings some small measure of justice to the families of Darrell and Jorge and the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department.”
Olivarez was charged with two counts of murder, two felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and one felony count of driving under the influence of alcohol and a drug-causing injury.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Olivarez in the amount of $4,025,000. If convicted on all charges, Olivarez faces up to life in prison.
“This tragic and senseless collision serves as an alarming testament to the grave dangers that plague our roadways,” said L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón. “It is a stark reminder that we cannot afford to tolerate reckless behavior behind the wheel. Driving under the influence, distracted driving, excessive speeding or any other form of disregard for the safety of others will be met with the full force of the law.”