Los Angeles, CA- Hours after posting a video to Instagram warning against drinking and driving, Los Angeles police officer Edgar Verduzco was involved in a fatal car crash and was arrested on suspicion of a felony DUI.
The short clip — which appeared to be filmed at a bar — features an animated man, sitting behind the wheel of a car. Despite the half-finished beer in the background, the 10-second video also boasts a “don’t drink and drive” hashtag. Officer Verduzco, who was off-duty at the time, shared it in an Instagram story around 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, KTLA reported. By 10 p.m. , he was driving his Chevy Camaro along the 605 Freeway near Whittier, where he collided with a Nissan. His vehicle continued into a second lane, and it struck a Toyota Scion before coming to a complete stop, the California Highway Patrol told the Los Angeles Times.
The Nissan burst into flames on impact, leaving its three occupants — believed to be a teenager and his parents — trapped inside. They were pronounced dead on the scene, and the coroner said it could take up to a week to officially identify them because the bodies were so badly burned.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck addressed his officer’s arrest at a news conference Wednesday.
“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.”
The agency has opened an administrative investigation into Verduzco and is cooperating with the CHP, he said. Verduzco is an Army veteran who did a tour in Afghanistan and joined the department two years ago, Beck said. Verduzco was stationed at the front desk of the Central Division and has had an “unremarkable” career thus far, Beck said. Beck said it was too early in the case to discuss discipline, but he said that if the allegations proved to be true, it could merit sending the officer to a disciplinary board for potential termination.
The officer will continue to be paid pending further disciplinary action by the department.
Verduzco suffered a broken nose in the crash and was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI causing injuries, authorities said. He is being held on $100,000 bail.