An officer of the LAPD posted a video with a ‘don't drink and drive' hashtag on Instagram mere hours before getting into a crash that killed a teen and his parents and being arrested for a felony DUI. LAPD officer Edgar Verduzco who is 26 uploaded a 10-second animated video featuring a warning against the dangers of drinking and driving. A mere three hours later Verduzco was taken into custody on charges of vehicular manslaughter with $100,000 bail set after his sports car rear ended 2 other vehicles. Officer Verduzco was driving a 2016 Chevy Camaro at a high speed when he rear-ended a 2010 Scion and a 2014 Nissan in the carpool lane. Tragically the impact of the crash caused the Nissan to burst into flames trapping all three occupants inside the vehicle.
The deceased were later identified as Mario Davila, his wife Maribel and their 19-year-old son, Oscar. The emergency paramedics who arrived to the fiery scene pronounced all three people inside the car dead a short time later. They were burned beyond recognition. Verduzco got away lightly suffering only a broken nose in the collision. The names of the 3 victims of the fiery crash were revealed by family members. Coroner said that it would take time to positively identify them due to the extent of their burns. Mario and Maribel Davila who were both in their 50s are survived by 3 living sons. Oscar was the couple's youngest child. He worked as a tutor at his alma mater, John W. North High School and is characterized by his peers as a bright, lighthearted, musically talented individual who, along with his parents served at church. He was a gentleman, hard worker, and a very happy person.
On the same evening as the accident, around 7pm, a video was posted on Officer Verduzco's Instagram account in which an animated character in a blue Dodgers T-shirt sits in a cartoon red convertible car on top of a bar counter, honking the horn in apparent frustration. The officer's social media account also features photos of Officer Verduzco in his LAPD uniform and his official US Army portrait. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck stated that the 26-year-old is a veteran who served three years in the Army. Officer Verduzco, was off-duty at the time of the crash. He sustained a broken nose. No open containers were found in his car but Verduzco showed visible signs of being intoxicated. The 26-year-old officer will continue to be paid pending further disciplinary action by the police department.
Although this is a terrible tragedy, sadly it cannot be classified as rare or uncommon. Fatal DUI related traffic accidents have been rising in the United States and especially in California. Some experts believe that changing attitudes of people towards risky behavior may be a factor in the trend. A recent study carried out by American Automobile Association shows that U.S. drivers may be changing their perception of traffic safety risks like distraction and intoxication. It may well be the case that fewer drivers today are concerned with the potential dangers of risky behavior than once was the case.