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LAPD Officer, Passenger Killed by Alleged Drunk Driver in Northridge

LAPD Officer, Passenger Killed by Alleged Drunk Driver in Northridge

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

City News Service

City News Service

11/4/2023

Updated: 11/4/2023

NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—An off-duty Los Angeles police officer and his front-seat passenger were killed Saturday morning in a two-vehicle crash in Northridge triggered by a vehicle that ran a red light at over 100 mph, authorities said.
The officer was identified as Darrell Cunningham, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said during a morning news conference in front of the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The 20-year-old motorist behind the wheel of the black, four-door BMW was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter, Mr. Moore said.
Mr. Moore added that the driver was allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol.
A passenger in the back seat of the officer’s white Infinity, an off-duty San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy, was also injured in the crash, Mr. Moore said.
Firefighters were called to 18101 W. Roscoe Blvd., near the intersection with Lindley Avenue, at 1:19 a.m. Saturday, where they found three people trapped inside vehicles, one car lodged against a building and a damaged fire hydrant, according to spokeswoman Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD).
Mr. Cunningham was driving a white Infinity northbound on Lindley with two other occupants when his car was struck by the BMW, which failed to stop for the red light at the intersection, Mr. Moore said.
LAFD paramedics pronounced Mr. Cunningham and his front-seat passenger dead at the scene. A woman inside the BMW was able free herself from wreckage, he said. She suffered serious injuries.
“All others were trapped because of the force and level of damage created by this horrific collision,” the chief said.
Fire crews freed the trapped victims and took them to a hospital.
Mr. Moore said the 20-year-old motorist was unconscious and listed in critical condition.
The off-duty San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy, who the police chief visited at the hospital, has a broken hip and “other serious injuries. It appears that he will survive,” Mr. Moore said.
The motorist was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter and additional potential charges as “further evidence is gathered,” Mr. Moore said.
The chief said Mr. Cunningham, who had logged nearly five years with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), was survived by a fiancee, a 3-year-old son and a 6-year-old son. The officer had worked out of the department’s West Los Angeles station.
“We mourn the loss of Officer Darrell Cunningham who was killed along with his friend by the senseless violence of a DUI driver. May God welcome him home,” Mr. Moore posted Saturday on X. “We will do everything possible to support his fiancé, 2 young boys, mom & 2 brothers.”
Mr. Moore added a short time later that he was authorizing the wearing of mourning bands in Mr. Cunningham’s honor.
“The investigation is in the skilled hands of the Department’s Multi- Disciplinary Collision Investigation Team,” the LAPD posted.
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