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Sheriff's cadet in grave condition; 4 others critical following Whittier crash

LASD cadet in grave condition after suffering setback; suspect denies intentional act
LASD cadet in grave condition after suffering setback; suspect denies intentional act 01:34

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept. said Alejandro Martinez is in grave condition, and four other cadets remain hospitalized in critical condition.

The cadets were injured last Wednesday morning when a Honda CRV swerved into a group of about 75 cadets on a training run near the sheriff's department STARS Explorer Academy in South Whittier.

The crash injured 25 recruits, all of whom were taken to multiple hospitals in the area. As of Sunday, authorities said all but five were released from hospitals. 

"At this time, four recruits from Sheriff's Academy Class # 464 still remain in critical condition and the rest have been released from the hospital who suffered non-life-threatening injuries," authorities said in a statement. "We remain hopeful for all involved to have a full and speedy recovery, however one recruit, Alejandro Martinez, has suffered setbacks that have left him in grave condition."

Authorities asked the public to keep Martinez and his family in their prayers.

The driver suspected in the crash -- identified as 22-year-old Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez of Diamond Bar -- was arrested and booked on suspicion of attempted murder on a peace officer. Gutierrez was subsequently released from custody allegedly over a lack of evidence. 

The case remains open.

Thus far, Gutierrez's lawyer has maintained that he had fallen asleep behind the wheel at the time of the crash, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the training class included recruits from various law enforcement agencies and the group of injured trainees included two each from the Bell and Glendale police departments and one from the Pasadena Police Department. The rest were all sheriff's department trainees.   

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