Authorities have not released an update on the victims of Wednesday morning’s crash in Whittier. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told a news conference Wednesday that one of the five seriously injured was on a ventilator. Some of the most serious injuries included head trauma, broken bones and loss of limbs, he added.
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Prior to Gutierrez’s arrest, Villanueva said a field sobriety test was conducted at the scene, but results showed the driver was not intoxicated.
Gutierrez’s SUV was rolling in the southbound lane before crossing into a northbound lane and hitting the recruits. The group of 75 recruits was made up of people from the Los Angeles County Sheriff and local police departments.
The accident happened around 6:30 a.m., after sunrise. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Training Office Captain Pat MacDonald previously said two black-and-white radio cars served as security vehicles for the group and eight highway guards wearing reflective vests were present. Some recruits told responding authorities that they estimated the vehicle was going about 30 to 40 miles per hour.
Homicide investigators continue to investigate the incident and no bond has been granted to Gutierrez, authorities said.
Online jail records show Gutierrez is due in court on Friday. It’s not immediately clear whether Gutierrez has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.
Sheriff’s authorities have yet to submit their case against Gutierrez to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution and said they plan to do so on Friday.
Ambrosio E. Rodriguez, a defense attorney who previously worked as a prosecutor in nearby Riverside County, said that to file an attempted murder charge, prosecutors would have to prove that Gutierrez intended to kill.
“There’s a high bar to prove it, to show that this guy was trying to kill these cadets,” he told The Associated Press. He said evidence obtained from the vehicle could be critical, adding that a key question is whether the driver applied the brakes when the vehicle was heading towards the recruits.