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Authorities said the driver’s field sobriety test came back negative.

Jae C. Hong/AP

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities have arrested a 22-year-old driver on suspicion of attempted m*rder for allegedly ramming his vehicle into Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy recruits during training, injuring more than two dozen people.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement Thursday that Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez was arrested Wednesday in connection with an investigation into the attempted m*rder of a peace officer.

Authorities said a man driving an SUV made an early turn on the wrong side of the road in the Whittier suburb early on Wednesday, colliding with recruits during a morning run. Five of them were seriously injured.

The crash site was chaotic, and authorities said it looked like the wreckage of an airplane. The deputies used the help of the nearby poviat fire station and immediately transported some of the most seriously injured directly to hospitals.

Authorities said the driver’s field sobriety test came back negative.

Online prison records show Gutierrez is scheduled to appear in court on Friday. It is not immediately known whether Gutierrez has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

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. when the accident occurred. They were dressed in white T-shirts and green shorts, and were accompanied by two black-and-white police cars and eight traffic wardens who were wearing high-visibility vests for safety, sheriff’s officials said.

Sheriffs have yet to submit their case against Gutierrez to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office for prosecution and have said they expect to do so on Friday.

Ambrosio E. Rodriguez, a defense attorney who previously worked as a prosecutor in nearby Riverside County, said that in order to file an attempted m*rder charge, prosecutors would have to prove that Gutierrez had intent to kill.

“There’s a high bar to prove it, to show that this guy was trying to kill those cadets,” he said. He said the evidence obtained from the vehicle could be critical, adding that the key issue was whether the driver applied the brakes as the vehicle approached the recruits.

“If he’s pressing on the brakes and he realizes he’s doing something wrong, it’s completely different than when he’s pressing on the gas,” he said.

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#Driver #arrested #crash #County #Sheriffs #recruits

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