A Los Angeles police officer was charged on April 20 with 3 counts of murder, driving under the influence of alcohol, and other charges related to a fiery accident on the 605 Freeway that occurred September 2017 near Whittier. The accident killed a family of 3 from Riverside. Mario Davila, Maribel Davila, and their son, Oscar Davila, died at the scene when the car they were riding in caught fire as a result of the crash and was enveloped by flames.
The LAPD driver who caused the accident, Edgar Verduzco, 27, of Santa Ana, also hit another car carrying Berly Alvarado of Wilmington and his 1-year-old son. Alvarado and Verduzco were injured, but fortunately the 1-year-old was unharmed.
Verduzco was arrested in Long Beach on April 20 and appeared in court later that day to be arraigned on three counts of murder, three counts of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, one count of driving under the influence causing injury, and one count of driving with a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content causing injury.
The arraignment was continued to May 16, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. They also stated that Verduzco is facing a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of all charges.
The DA explained that Verduzco is facing more serious murder charges compared to lesser charges because his experience and training as a police officer made him cognizant of the dangers and harm that can come from reckless driving and DUI.
According to CHP officers, Verduzco was drunk and speeding in the carpool lane when he rear-ended a car carrying the Davila family that caused it to crash into the center divider and burst into flames. Then, Verduzco’s vehicle hit the car driven by Alvarado in the next lane over.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck believed that Verduzco was on his day off when the crash occurred. The CHP arrested Verduzco and released him 2 days later pending further investigation. The LAPD put him on administrative leave last year. LAPD spokesman Officer Drake Madison stated Verduzco is still with the department but is not getting paid.
When the crash occurred, Verduzco had worked for the LAPD for 2 years and worked the front desk at Central Division in downtown LA. Currently, Verduzco is being held at the Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles on a bail of $6.1 million.