Los Angeles, CA — In what some have considered the height of hypocrisy, a Los Angeles Police Department officer posted an encouraging “don’t drink and drive” video to his social media—just before he went out and killed three people while allegedly drinking and driving.
The crash happened on California’s 605 freeway in Whittier. LAPD Officer Edgar Verduzco, 26, was off-duty at the time his Chevrolet Camaro allegedly ran into two other vehicles, when one of the vehicles burst into flames, killing a mother, father, and a teenage son.
One witness, Omar Quintanilla, claims he spoke with Verduzco immediately following the crash. He said the officer confessed to being behind the wheel of the Camaro when the accident took place. The witness said he believed the officer was under the influence of some kind of substance.
According to KTLA, hours before the accident, officer Verduzco uploaded a 10-second video to social media encouraging his followers not to drink and drive, something the peace officer would be accused of that very night.
“The 10-second video features an animated avatar, wearing a Dodgers shirt, atop a bar counter. The cartoon character sits in a red car, honking the horn, with a message written underneath: ‘#dontdrinkanddrive.'”
Verduzco was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter after the California Highway Patrol concluded alcohol may have been a factor in the deadly accident that took the lives of three people, all from the same family.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck called Verduzco’s 2 years of service within the LAPD “unremarkable,” noting he had served desk duty during that time. The chief also noted Verduzco had served three years in the Army serving in Afghanistan. I
“My heart goes out to the victims and the families. I cannot tell you how angry and disappointed I am,” Chief Beck said during a press conference.
Verduzco is believed to have spent some time drinking at the Cellar bar before leaving in his Camaro to return to his home in Santa Ana.
Neither Chief Beck nor the police union, are standing with the young officer. The Los Angeles Police Protective League issued a statement saying Verduzco should “suffer the consequences” for what the league called “reckless” actions.
Verduzco, who only suffered a broken nose in the accident, was being held in custody with his bond set at $100,000, however, he was just released Thursday night. He will continue to receive his salary for the next 30 days, at which time he will be suspended without pay, and most likely be recommended for termination.
Unfortunately, accidents with law enforcement under the influence of alcohol are not new or all that rare. As TFTP has faithfully and consistently reported, alcohol is the accepted drug in society, yet the one which arguably carries the greatest risk to the user.
Whether it was Verduzco’s first time allegedly drinking and driving, or his thousandth, the effects are the same. People die when others drink and drive, but society expects its so-called thin blue line to be above board when it comes to drinking and then getting behind the wheel.