605 freeway fiery crash
The Sept. 26 fiery crash scene that left three family members dead. Photo: OnSceneTV

With the investigation continuing, a Los Angeles police officer arrested for allegedly driving drunk and causing a triple-fatal crash on the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway in Santa Fe Springs was released from jail Thursday.

Authorities said 26-year-old Edgar Verduzco of Santa Ana was speeding his 2016 Chevrolet Camaro in the freeway’s carpool lane around 10:15 p.m. Tuesday just north of Washington Boulevard when he struck a 2014 Nissan and a 2010 Scion from behind.

The impact of the crash caused the Nissan to burst into flames, trapping the three occupants, who died at the scene, according to the California Highway Patrol. They’ve been identified by relatives as Mario and Maribel Davila of Riverside and their 19-year-old son, Oscar.

According to a GoFundMe page created on the family’s behalf, the Davilas were “members of Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine church, volunteers of the Riverside community, supporters of the arts, and all three of them had positive influences on those around them.”

The driver of the Scion, 31-year-old Berly Alvarado of Wilmington, was taken to a hospital after complaining of pain.

Verduzco, who suffered “major” injuries was arrested and booked on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs causing bodily injury. He was being held on $100,000 bail, but was released Thursday afternoon while CHP officials awaited the results of lab tests.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Wednesday the department has begun an internal investigation and will cooperate with the CHP in its probe of the crash. 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.”

Beck said Verduzco has been with the department for just two years, but has a military background.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing LAPD officers, issued a statement expressing “deep sorrow over this horrible tragedy.”

“There’s never an excuse for driving under the influence, and if Officer Verduzco is found guilty of what he is accused of, then he should suffer the consequences for his reckless actions,” according to the union.

–City News Service

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