A Los Angeles Police Department officer involved in an off-duty freeway crash that killed three members of a Riverside family near Santa Fe Springs last September was arrested Friday on charges of murder, vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence.
Superior Court Judge Deborah S. Brazil ordered Edgar Verduzco, 27, to remain jailed in lieu of $6.1 million bail while awaiting arraignment, which was postponed at the defense’s request to May 16 at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse.
Verduzco was charged Wednesday with three counts each of murder and vehicular manslaughter, as well as one count each of driving under the influence and driving with a 0.08 percent blood alcohol content causing injury. If convicted as charged, he could face a possible maximum sentence of life in prison, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The Sept. 26, 2017, crash on the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway north of Washington Boulevard, in an unincorporated area just outside Santa Fe Springs, killed Mario Davila, 60, Maribel Davila, 52, and their 19-year-old son, Oscar Davila.
Verduzco was allegedly speeding in a carpool lane when his 2016 Chevrolet Camaro struck a 2014 Nissan containing the Davilas, as well as a 2010 Scion, from behind, authorities said shortly after the crash.
The vehicle containing the Davila family struck the center divider and burst into flames, while the occupants in the other car suffered minor injuries.
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.”
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said shortly after the crash that the department had launched an internal investigation and that it would cooperate with the California Highway Patrol in its probe. 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.”
Verduzco had been with the department for two years, and had a military background, Beck said last year.
Verduzco was arrested by the CHP shortly after the crash, which caused a nearly six-hour shutdown of the southbound side of the freeway, and was released two days later while authorities awaited the results of lab tests. He was arrested in Long Beach Friday morning by the CHP, according to the LAPD.