An attorney for the 22-year-old driver who plowed into law enforcement recruits running in columns last week in South Whittier, CA, said the crash was a tragic accident that happened after her client fell asleep at the wheel on his way to work.  

Video from the scene appears to show Nicholas Gutierrez swerving into the law enforcement recruits who were out on a training run at about 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 16.  

Of the 75 recruits who were jogging at the time of the crash, 25 were injured. Of the 25, five were critically injured. Three remain in critical condition.

One of the critically injured recruits, Alejandro Martinez, has taken a turn for the worse and is in grave condition in the hospital. Martinez suffered broken legs, brain swelling and internal bleeding from the crash, KTLA reports.

Attorney Alexandra Kazarian said the crash was a "tragic accident."

Gutierrez, she said, had not been up late the night before. He normally gets up for work around 5 a.m. and was driving that morning to his job as an electrical engineer for a solar panel company, she said.

"He's a good kid that fell asleep on his way to work early in the morning," she told ABC7.

I didn’t intentionally do it,” Gutierrez told NBC4. “I wish it never happened. I feel bad it happened.”

“If in fact this was an accident and the prosecutors do not charge this man with an intentional act, he is still looking at a reckless driving, causing great bodily injury for each cadet that was gravely injured and for each of those counts, he could be looking at a maximum of three years in prison per count,” KTLA legal analyst Alison Triessl said.  

 

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