DA: Motorist Going More Than 100 Mph in Northridge Crash That Killed Off-Duty Officer

DA: Motorist Going More Than 100 Mph in Northridge Crash That Killed Off-Duty Officer

Late Los Angeles Police Officer Darrell Cunningham. (Courtesy of Los Angeles Police Department)

City News Service

City News Service


Updated: 11/10/2023

LOS ANGELES—A motorist accused of crashing into a vehicle in Northridge and killing an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer and a man who was preparing to go into the LAPD academy was allegedly driving under the influence and speeding at more than 100 mph, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Nov. 9.
Brian David Olivarez, 20, is charged with two counts each of murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, along with one count of driving under the influence causing injury as a result of the crash early Saturday morning.
Mr. Olivarez allegedly ran a red light at the intersection of Roscoe Boulevard and Lindley Avenue and collided with off-duty LAPD Officer Darrell Cunningham’s vehicle, Mr. Gascón said at a news conference detailing the case.
“Mr. Olivarez was allegedly driving under the influence at more than 100 miles per hour,” the district attorney told reporters, describing it as a “senseless loss of life.”
Mr. Cunningham—who worked at the LAPD’s West Los Angeles station and was on the force for nearly five years and was a father of two young sons—and one of his passengers, Jorge Soriano, died at the scene. Two other people, including an off-duty San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy who was a passenger in Mr. Cunningham’s white Infiniti, were seriously injured in the crash and were freed by fire crews, authorities said.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore called it a “senseless murder of these two individuals as they just simply went about their way a few short days ago,” calling it “such reckless and callous disregard for the lives of others.”
The police chief said it was his understanding that Mr. Olivarez was free on bail following his arrest in July on suspicion of being involved in a robbery at a store in the San Fernando Valley.
John Harlan with the District Attorney’s Office said Mr. Olivarez is facing two counts of robbery in that case.
Mr. Cunningham’s mother called what happened “very senseless,” noting that it happened at about 1:15 a.m. when there was no traffic.
“What’s the rush? ... 1:15 in the morning,” she said.
Mr. Soriano’s godmother said hundreds of people have been impacted by one person’s bad decision.
It was not immediately clear when Mr. Olivarez would appear in court in connection with the charges.
Mr. Olivarez faces a potential life prison sentence if convicted as charged, according to the district attorney.
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