New evidence indicates that Nicholas Joseph Gutiérrez never tried to divert his path and testimonies assure that he was heard accelerating prior to the violent impact against the platoon
Authorities arrested 22-year-old Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez who they believe intentionally ran over a group of law enforcement recruits who were on a training run in Whittier.
Gutierrez was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of attempted murder of an officer, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Additional charges are currently pending, authorities said.
A Sheriff’s Department detective told him the act is believed to be intentional after more interviews, video and physical evidence were collected.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva previously said the incident was an accident, however authorities say that was based on preliminary information as authorities were investigating. Additional evidence collected led them to believe the suspect intentionally crashed into the group.
The incident unfolded early Wednesday in the South Whittier area near Mills Avenue and Trumball Street. Villanueva said a class of about 75 recruits was running as part of a training exercise when the 22-year-old driver crashed into the group.
The collision left all 25 recruits with injuries ranging from head trauma to loss of limbs. .
At the last check, one remains hospitalized on a ventilator. A total of five recruits are currently in critical condition, four are being treated for “moderate” injuries and 16 have minor injuries.
In the footage, the SUV is viewed from the left side of the road and does not appear to slow down or swerve sharply as it heads directly toward the jogging group.
In fact, there were indications that the driver may have accelerated shortly before the crash, Villanueva said.
“Some recruits say they heard the car speed up, they estimate around 30 to 40 miles per hour,” the sheriff said. “You can see how little reaction time it allows someone.”
The driver suffered minor injuries, according to the fire department. Villanueva said the driver was given a field sobriety test shortly after the crash and “got a 0.0.”
The test does not rule out drugs, but Villanueva said the official cause of the incident is still unknown.
Gutierrez, who is from Diamond Bar, is reportedly cooperating with authorities. He is currently being held on $2 million bond.
The sheriff’s department said investigators plan to file this case with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Friday.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.