A Los Angeles Police Department officer posted a video to Instagram warning against drunk driving, then hours later was involved in a collision which killed three people. It is suspected that the officer was driving under the influence of alcohol.
LAPD officer Edgar Verduzco, who was off-duty at the time, posted a short video on his Instagram account this past Tuesday which featured an animated man, sitting behind the wheel of a car. Despite the half-finished beer in the background, the 10-second video also boasts a “don’t drink and drive” hashtag.
A few hours later, Verduzco was driving his Chevy Camaro on the 605 Freeway in Whittier, CA, when he collided with a Nissan. Verduzco’s Camaro then continued into another lane and collided with a Toyota Scion.
The Nissan burst into flames and the occupants, Maribel and Mario Davila and their son, Oscar, were trapped inside. All three were pronounced dead on the scene. Berly Alvarado, who was driving the Toyota Scion, was also injured. Verduzco suffered a broken nose.
Upon arriving on the scene, law enforcement noticed signs of intoxication on Verduzco and arrested him on suspicion of felony driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter.
“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,” Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told reporters during a press conference Wednesday.
He said the LAPD "has no tolerance for driving under the influence and holds its officers to the highest standards of professionalism both on and off-duty." "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 dismissals," he said. "In instances where nobody has been injured, employees often receive suspension days and employees sign a contract in which an individual will submit to randomized testing, treatment programs and abstinence from alcohol as a condition of continued employment."
The LAPD is investigating the crash alongside the California Highway Patrol. Verduzco was being held at the Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles in lieu of $100,000 bond.