An off-duty Los Angeles police officer is facing felony charges following a suspected DUI crash Tuesday night that authorities said killed a family of three.
Edgar Verduzco, 26, is accused of driving “at a high rate of speed” along Interstate 605 Freeway when his car collided with a vehicle carrying a mother, father and teenage son about 10:30 p.m., KTLA reported, citing the California Highway Patrol.
After colliding with the family’s vehicle, causing it to burst into flames and trap the three people inside, Verduzco’s car struck a second vehicle, causing minor injuries to the 31-year-old driver.
Verduzco showed symptoms of being intoxicated at the time of the crash, CHP Officer Al Perez told the Los Angeles Times.
The names of the three family members had been released as of Wednesday afternoon.
At a Wednesday afternoon new conference, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck expressed heartbreak and fury over what happened.
“I cannot tell you how angry and disappointed I am that a Los Angeles police officer would disregard the law and cause such an accident with such awful, awful consequences,” Beck said. “As soon as I heard that a family of three had been killed in a horrific accident, my heart went out to the family and their friends.”
Beck identified Verduzco as a two-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department who had served in the Army for four years, including a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
“He was a very young police officer, not much time on the job, an unremarkable career,” he said of Verduzco, who Beck said suffered minor injuries in the crash.
Jailhouse records list Verduzco as being held on $100,000 bail.
Beck said the LAPD will conduct an administrative investigation into what happened while the CHP pursues a criminal one.
Beck said they “look forward” to charging Verduzco “should he deserve so.”