driver of an SUV whoHis lawyer told a newspaper on Monday that he fell asleep at the wheel on his way to work during a training run last week.
Attorney Alexandra Kazarian told the Los Angeles Times that Nicolas Gutierrez, 22, was on his way to his job as an electrical engineer at a solar panel company when he fell asleep. He said that he had woken up at 5 in the morning, but had not woken up till late at night. Officials have said that the accident happened around 6:30 am
“He’s a good kid who fell asleep on his way to work in the morning,” Kazarian told the newspaper.
Kazarian did not respond to requests for comment Monday from The Associated Press.
“I didn’t do it on purpose,” Gutierrez, 22, told NBC4LA during an interview with his family. “I wish this never happened. I feel bad that it happened.”
Kazarian said in a Friday statement that there were no drugs or alcohol in his client’s system, NBC4LA reported.
“Nicholas comes from a proud law enforcement family and the injuries suffered by these recruits are heartbreaking,” Kazarian said.
Initially, investigators had developed a “probable cause to believe (the accident) was intentional,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in an interview with NewsNation.
Gutierrez, of the city of Diamond Bar, California, was taken into custody near the crash site. He was later arrested and booked on suspicion of attempted murder of a peace officer.
But, CBS Los Angeles reports, he was laterThe sheriff’s department said it would continue the investigation and may arrest Gutierrez again.
The department did not release information on what led it to conclude that the crash was intentional.
The November 16 crash left 25 members of a sheriff’s academy class injured, many of them seriously. UCI Health said on Monday that one injured cadet had been discharged over the weekend, while another victim remained in hospital in a serious but stable condition.
The accident happened when the sheriff and police recruits were running from construction in an alley. Officials said the SUV entered the wrong side of the road and into the recruits, then hit a pole.