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LAPD Officer Charged with 3 Counts of Murder in Suspected Off-Duty DUI Crash in Whittier

California (KTLA) -- A Los Angeles Police Department officer suspected in an off-duty DUI crash on the 605 Freeway in Whittier last year was charged with murder in the deaths of three family members, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Edgar Verduzco, 27, was initially arrested following the deadly Sept. 26, 2017 crash but was later released due to insufficient grounds to file charges.

On Friday, the DA’s office stated Verduzco had been charged with three counts of murder and vehicular manslaughter, and one count each of driving under the influence and driving with a .08 percent blood alcohol content causing injury. LAPD said he has been relieved of duty, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Verduzco, who was off duty, was allegedly drunk and speeding when he crashed into two vehicles about 10:15 p.m. on that Tuesday night in September.

One of the vehicles was sent careening into the center divider, where it burst into flames, killing three people inside.

The victims were identified as Mario Davila, 60, Maribel Davila, 52, and their 19-year-old son, Oscar Davila.

The occupants in the other vehicle suffered only minor injuries.

Video posted to Verduzco’s Instagram account about 7 p.m. the day of the crash used a hashtag to caution viewers against drinking and driving.

It showed an animated avatar sitting in a car atop what appeared to be a counter at a bar with glasses of beer.

Verduzco was expected to be arraigned Friday, but it was moved to May 16.

If convicted as charged, Verduzco faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison, according to the DA’s office.