January 23, 2024
Media Relations Division
Grand Jury Indictment Unsealed — Man Charged in 2023 Death of Sheriff’s Academy Recruit and Gravely Injuring 9 Other Recruits in 2022 Wrong-Way Crash in Whittier
The 11-count indictment was unsealed today after Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez was indicted by the Los Angeles County Criminal Grand Jury
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced today that Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez was indicted by the Los Angeles County Criminal Grand Jury. He is charged in an 11-count indictment with killing Los Angeles County Sheriff’s recruit Alejandro Martinez-Inzunza and injuring nine other Sheriff’s recruits in a wrong-way crash in November 2022 in Whittier.
“More than a year later, we are still grappling with the profound loss of a promising sheriff’s deputy recruit, Alejandro Martinez-Inzunza, and the other recruits who were seriously injured as a result of this tragic incident,” District Attorney Gascón said. “Today’s indictment is a significant step forward in the progress of this case. My office’s Crimes Against Peace Officers Division is working tirelessly to ensure that the victims and their families receive the justice they deserve.”
The indictment was unsealed today, and Gutierrez pleaded not guilty to all charges at an arraignment in Los Angeles County Superior Court case 24CJ-CF00461. Gutierrez is scheduled to appear on February 9 for a pre-trial conference in Dept. S at the Norwalk Courthouse. He is charged in the indictment with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and nine counts of reckless driving on a highway causing a specified injury.
On November 16, 2022, 76 members of the LASD Academy Class 464 were on a training run on Mills Avenue at Bentongrove Drive, in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County near the City of Whittier, when Gutierrez, driving southbound on Mills Avenue, crossed into the northbound lanes and crashed into the group.
In all, twenty-five recruits were injured in the crash, including recruit Alejandro Martinez-Inzunza, who succumbed to his injuries eight months later on July 28, 2023. Nine other recruits were severely injured in the crash.
Gutierrez has posted bail in the amount of $500,000. If convicted as charged, he will face a maximum sentence of 12 years in state prison.
The case was investigated by the California Highway Patrol Santa Fe Springs Office, CHP Southern Division Investigative Services and M.A.I.T. – Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau.