Three hours before a possibly drunk off-duty Los Angeles police officer slammed into the back of two cars on a California freeway, killing a married couple and their teenage son, he shared an animated video on his Instagram account warning about the danger of drinking and driving.
Edgar Verduzco was arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter and was being held on $100,000 bail.
The 26-year-old officer was driving a 2016 Chevy Camaro ‘at a high rate of speed’ when he rear-ended two vehicles – a 2010 Scion and a 2014 Nissan – while in the carpool lane at around 10.15pm on the southbound side of 605 Freeway in Whittier, according to a California Highway Patrol (CHP) press release.
Cop arrested: LAPD officer Edgar Verduzco, 26, was arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter following a fiery crash that killed three
Victims named: The collision on a California freeway took the lives of Mario and Maribel Davila (pictured together, left), and their youngest son, 19-year-old Oscar Davila (right)
The impact of the crash caused the Nissan to burst into flames, tragically trapping all three occupants inside. They were later identified as Mario Davila, his wife Maribel and their 19-year-old son, Oscar.
Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics who arrived to the fiery scene pronounced all three people inside the car dead a short time later. They were said to have been burned beyond recognition.
Earlier that evening, at around 7pm, a video appeared on an Instagram account associated with Officer Verduzco, in, which an animated character in a blue Dodgers T-shirt sits in a cartoon red convertible car on top of a bar counter, honking the horn in apparent frustration.
A beer glass is pictured in the background. The caption in the 10-second clip reads: ‘#dontdrinkanddrive.’
Ironic: Three hours before the suspected DUI crash, Verduzco shared this animated clip on his Instagram account warning about the danger of drinking and driving
Inferno: A car is seen engulfed in flames after police say Verduzco smashed into two vehicles at a high rate of speed on the 605 Freeway in Whittie
The social media account also featured photos of Verduzco in his LAPD uniform and his official US Army portrait, as KTLA first reported after being tipped off about the Instagram page. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the 26-year-old is a veteran who had served three years in the Army.
The names of the three deceased victims of the fiery crash have been revealed by family members. Coroner’s officials said it would take some time to positively identify them due to the extent of their burns.
Mario and Maribel Davila, both in their 50s, are survived by three living sons. According to the description of a GoFundMe campaign launched to help raise money for the family’s funeral, Oscar was the couple’s youngest child.
The recent high school graduate worked as a tutor at his alma mater, John W. North High School.
He was characterized as ‘a bright, lighthearted, musically talented individual who, along with his parents served at church. He was a gentleman, hard worker, and a very happy person.’
The wreck shut down all southbound lanes of the 605 Freeway for hours Tuesday night
The coroner said it wold take time to officially identify the deceased victims due to the extent of their burns
The driver of the Scion has been identified as 31-year-old Berly Alvarado. She suffered minor injuries in the crash
The driver of the Scion involved in Tuesday’s crash has been identified as 31-year-old Berly Alvarado, of Wilmington. She was taken to a hospital suffering from minor injuries.
Verduzco, who was off-duty at the time of the crash, sustained a broken nose during the accident.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck (above) said Verduzco is an Army veteran who did a tour in Afghanistan and joined the LAPD two years ago. He called the situation ‘particularly troubling’
Perez said there were no open containers in the car, but that Verduzco showed signs of being intoxicated.
The wreck shut down all southbound lanes of the 605 for hours, KABC reported.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck released a statement regarding the crash and sent his condolences to the family.
‘The Department has no tolerance for for driving under the influence and holds its officers to 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.’
Beck addressed his officer’s arrest at a press conference Wednesday.
Officer: Verduzco is an Army veteran who did a tour in Afghanistan and joined the LAPD two years ago. He was stationed at the front desk of the Central Division
‘My heart goes out to the victims and their families and 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,’ Beck said.
‘This is an awful, awful thing.’
Beck shared that Verduzco is an Army veteran who did a tour in Afghanistan and joined the LAPD two years ago.
Verduzco was stationed at the front desk of the Central Division and had an ‘unremarkable’ career thus far, Beck added.
The 26-year-old officer will continue to be paid pending further disciplinary action by the police department.