According to the California Highway Patrol, off-duty police officer Edgar Verduzco was driving his Chevy Camaro under the influence of alcohol on Sept. 26 when he collided with a Nissan, which burst into flames. The impact killed parents Mario and Maribel and their 19-year-old son, Oscar Davila.
CHP Officer Gersain Chavez said in a statement to KTLA that Verduzco was speeding in the carpool lane. Verduzco was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter, according to KTLA.
Officer Chavez said the Camaro rear-ended a Nissan in the No. 1 lane and also a Scion in the No. 2 lane. The Scion’s driver, Berly Alvarado, 31, complained of pain, reports Mercury News.
LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement that during incidents in which no one is injured, employees often receive suspension days and sign a contract saying they will submit to random testing, treatment programs, and abstinence from alcohol as a condition of continued employment.
The off-duty officer had posted from his Instagram account a video of a bar scene with the haunting words, "#dontdrinkanddrive," featuring a cartoon car before heading out onto the 605 freeway to do just that, according to CHP officers on the scene.
KTLA reports that the family is survived by their three sons and are missed dearly by the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine church in Riverside, where they were active members, according to the fundraising account.
Mario and Maribel were "people who gave more than they ever took" and "passed that lesson down to their kids," according to the page. Oscar was described as "a bright, light hearted, musically talented individual" who was a "gentleman" and "hard worker.".
“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 during an early afternoon news conference on Sept. 27.
The officer was a military veteran and, according to statements made by Beck, it is unclear why he had served less than the standard four years for new recruits in the military.
“He came to us from the U.S. Army where he did almost four years. I believe he served in Afghanistan,” Beck said, and added later that Verduzco “worked the desk,” reports KTLA.
A spokesman for the LAPD’s union issued a statement saying that if Verduzco is found guilty, he should “suffer the consequences for his reckless actions,” reports Mercury News.
Verduzco's bail is set at $100,000 and the officer is currently detained in downtown Los Angeles, according to Mercury News.