I recently wrote about individuals who work in criminal justice—and who should know better—getting DUIs. Today I read a tragic news story today about an off-duty Los Angeles police officer causing a crash that killed three people; the officer is suspected of driving drunk.
The crash happened in Riverside around 10 p.m. this past Tuesday, September 27. The off-duty officer, Edgar Verduzco, a Santa Ana resident, was speeding down the carpool lane when he rear-ended the victim’s Nissan. The Nissan burst into flames causing the death of a couple and their teen-aged son, who were trapped in their car.
The officer was booked on suspicion of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter. LAPD is investigating, while Officer Verduzco is being held in the Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail on $100,000 bail. His only injury is a broken nose.
The irony is that only hours before the crash, Officer Verduzco posted an animated video on Instagram featuring an avatar sitting in a red car upon a bar countertop, honking the horn. The hashtag read #dontdrinkanddrive. The video appeared to be filmed at a bar and seen in the video background was a half-finished beer. There was also a second video posted to Officer Verduzco’s Instagram account showing people at a bar playing a table game.
Officer Verduzco has worked for LAPD for two years. LAPD has opened an administrative investigation. If convicted, Officer Verduzco will certainly lose his job but at this point, he is on administrative leave.
Clearly this cop knew better yet he still got behind the wheel after apparently drinking at a bar. Did he think he was “okay” to drive? Did he believe he wouldn’t get arrested because he was a cop? Who knows. But the lesson here is that even when we believe, in our clouded drunken judgment, that it will be okay to drive— “it’s only a few blocks” or “I don’t feel drunk” or whatever we tell ourselves—we cannot anticipate all consequences. For this cop, the consequences will ruin his life and a family lost theirs.
A DUI can be one of the worst experiences of a person’s life, but just a DUI is getting off easy. Next time you think you are okay to drive after a few, consider that you might not just be risking a DUI. You could end up like this cop facing manslaughter charges, or even murder under certain circumstances.
Orange County DUI defense attorney William Weinberg is available for a complimentary consultation concerning your DUI matter. You may reach him at his Irvine office at 949-474-8008 or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.