L.A. County sheriff’s deputy charged with murder in fatal off-duty crash

A large representation of a badge set in the lawn outside the East Los Angeles sheriff's station
An L.A. County sheriff’s deputy was charged with murder Wednesday in connection with an off-duty car crash that left his 23-year-old passenger dead.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was charged with murder in connection with an off-duty crash that took the life of his 23-year-old passenger.

Daniel Manuel Auner, 23, was charged with one felony count each of murder and reckless driving on a highway causing great bodily injury, the L.A. County district attorney’s office said Wednesday.

Auner is due in court Wednesday. It was unclear if he has retained an attorney.


The crash occurred just after midnight on July 8 last year. Prosecutors allege Auner was speeding when his car crashed into a traffic pole at the corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and 190th Street in Torrance.

The passenger in his front seat, Ashley Wells, died of her injuries. Two other passengers were left with serious injuries, prosecutors allege.

“Reckless driving can be deadly and no one knows that more than law enforcement officers,” Dist. Atty. George Gascón said in a statement.

The parents of Wells last year filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Auner.