Driver charged with running over LA police recruits released without bail

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News November 18, 2022

Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, the driver who was charged with plowing into dozens of Los Angeles law enforcement recruits Wednesday, and who law enforcement officials say did it on purpose, was released without bail due to what authorities called a lack of evidence, CBS Los Angeles reported.

Several police recruits were injured on Nov. 16 in Los Angeles County when a driver plowed into them while they were in a morning run in Whittier, California. / Irfan Khan / LA Times

The 22-year-old Gutierrez, from the city of Diamond Bar, California, was detained near the scene of the crash. He was later arrested and booked on suspicion of attempted murder of a peace officer.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva blamed LA prosecutor George Gascon’s policies for the provisional release of Gutierrez. [Recall effort for Soros-funded LA District Attorney Gascon falls short.]

“We operate under prosecutor George Gascon. We definitely have grave concerns about his ability to prosecute. We are actually going to provisionally release him (Gutierrez) until we can have the case iron clad, iron proof, and submitted to the DA for filing consideration. Right now, we want to tie up all the loose ends on the case and then present it to the DA,” Villanueva said.

The sheriff added: “We already had probable cause to arrest, but now we have to take it to beyond unreasonable doubt in the proof in court.”

Villanueva provided an update on the conditions of the recruits:

“We have two that still remain in critical condition, one at UC Irvine, the other one at St. Francis Hospital. The one in St. Francis he’s on life support with a serious brain bleeding and swelling. That is our biggest concern right there. Him and another recruit at UC Irvine, they both have multiple fractures on their legs. They have a long road to recovery happen to them, and we’re just hoping and praying that they can pull through. A total of seven remain in the hospital, two in critical, five under observation, the remaining 20 have been released to their families.”

About 75 recruits from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and several local police agencies were running in formation in the street just before 6:30 a.m. in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier when the driver veered into the wrong lane and struck the runners before crashing into a nearby light pole, authorities said.

Villanueva said he believes the incident was a “deliberate act.”

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