LA driver that plowed into Sheriff recruits RELEASED due to lack of evidence
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WHITTIER, California – The “wrong-way driver” that plowed into a large group of Los Angeles County Sheriff recruits out for a morning run has been released from custody for what is being reported as a “lack of evidence.”
22-year-old Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez is accused of being the man behind the wheel of a vehicle that plowed into a large group of cadets, injuring 25 of the recruits in South Whittier Wednesday morning, five of them critically.
The incident was captured on video, which showed the SUV veering into the opposite lanes of travel and directly into a group of 75 recruits from the STARS Center Academy who were jogging on Mills Avenue around 6:30 a.m. The vehicle stopped after hitting a light pole.
On Thursday, Gutierrez was arrested and charged with attempted murder of a peace officer, and other charges are pending, the sheriff’s department said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva originally stated that the crash appeared to be a “tragic accident.” Later he stated the crash that injured 25 law enforcement recruits in South Whittier Wednesday morning was not an accident.
“(Investigators) went through an exhaustive interview process with everyone involved, with the video surveillance statements from the recruits, the physical evidence they had, and what they got from the suspect himself. And they were able to form the opinion that this was a deliberate act,” Villanueva told NewsNation Thursday.
Bond was set at $2 million, but according to Sgt. Magos with LASD, Gutierrez was released from custody Thursday evening, citing California penal code 849(B)(1), which authorizes peace officers to release arrested persons from custody due to insufficient grounds to file a complaint against that person, according to KTLA.
Within hours of the crash, Villanueva stated that Guiterrez was not impaired and that he had passed a sobriety test and breathalyzer. On Thursday, he stated that they believed he may have been under the influence of recreational drugs, and on Friday, we learned that Guiterrez may have had marijuana in his vehicle.
Watch clip above via KTLA