A Los Angeles County sheriff’s recruit has died months after a wrong-way driver plowed his SUV into a group of police recruits, authorities said Friday.
Alejandro Martinez “fought for his life for the past eight months,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
“Surrounded by his family, friends, Sheriff Luna, and other department members in support of his family, Alejandro has now gone to his eternal resting place,” the statement said. “Tragically, he was not able to fulfill his calling of helping others.”
About 75 recruits from Sheriff’s Academy Class 464 had been running near the intersection of Mills Avenue and Telegraph Road in Whittier, just before 6:30 a.m. in November, when the SUV veered into them, authorities have said. Twenty-five cadets were injured.
The SUV driver had been identified as 22-year-old Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez from suburban Diamond Bar, who suffered a minor injury.
He was initially arrested, but authorities later released him on grounds that more investigation was needed.
The 22-year-old’s attorney said he has no animosity toward law enforcement and that it was a tragic accident.
Following the death of Martinez, the sheriff’s office wrote that the recruit “will forever live in our hearts & never be forgotten.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.