(DailyVantage.com) – Authorities in California charged the driver who allegedly hit a group of training sheriffs, causing one sheriff deputy’s death, with vehicular manslaughter. Among the charges brought against Nicholas Gutierrez, the accused driver, are two counts of negligent vehicular manslaughter and multiple counts of reckless driving resulting in bodily injury. If a jury convicts Gutierrez of the various charges, he will spend up to 12 years behind bars.
According to authorities, the incident occurred while approximately 75 sheriff trainees were training when Gutierrez drove his car onto the wrong side of the street and hit 25 recruits. When the accident occurred, the recruits were training on the side of a suburban street. Gutierrez allegedly drove onto the wrong side of the street and crashed into them before hitting a nearby pole. Police arrested Gutierrez shortly after the incident but released him while investigating the crash.
Authorities also conducted drug tests on Gutierrez and determined that the alleged driver wasn’t under the influence of any substances when the incident occurred. The crash caused multiple recruits to sustain severe injuries, with one trainee dying from his injuries.
Prosecutors claim the felony charges against Gutierrez are a “step towards justice” for the family of Deputy Alejandro Martinez, who died in the crash. Martinez spent eight months in a hospital after being hit in the accident and has since died from his injuries. Authorities claim Martinez died as a result of Gutierrez’s negligence, a claim seemingly supported by Gutierrez’s recollection of the accident.
Gutierrez claims he fell asleep moments before the crash and woke up to multiple recruits banging on his SUV’s windows. Gutierrez’s recollection of the crime supports the prosecution’s claim of negligence and will likely hinder Gutierrez’s defense moving forward. Gutierrez’s attorney addressed the case against the alleged driver, claiming that Gutierrez and his family are cooperating with authorities in their investigation.
Gutierrez expressed remorse for the incident while speaking to KNBC-TV, claiming he regretted the crash and wished it hadn’t happened.
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