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Friends and relatives mourn parents and son killed in suspected DUI crash with LAPD officer

Friends and relatives of three family members who died when their car was struck by an alleged drunk driver Tuesday night on the 605 Freeway in Whittier have launched an online fundraiser to help their survivors.

In a GoFundMe appeal, the three are described as devoted churchgoers who were selfless and kind. Relatives identified the victims to KTLA-TV as Mario and Maribel Davila and their 19-year-old son, Oscar.

“They were members of Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine Church, volunteers of the Riverside community, supporters of the arts, and all three of them had positive influences on those around them,” Jenny Vasquez said on the fundraising website.

Oscar has three older brothers and was a volunteer tutor at his old high school, the family told KCBS-TV.

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“Oscar was a bright, lighthearted, musically talented individual who, along with his parents served at church,” the fundraising appeal said. “He was a gentleman, hard worker, and a very happy person. For those who knew them .. they couldn’t help but gravitate towards them due to their selflessness and kindness,” it said.

Coroner’s officials said it will be at least a week before the victims of the crash are officially identified because their bodies were so badly burned.

The driver accused of causing the crash, Edgar Verduzco, was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI. Verduzco, 26, is a Los Angeles police officer who was stationed at the front desk of the Central Division, Chief Charlie Beck said at a news conference Wednesday.

Verduzco was speeding in the southbound carpool lane of the freeway when he rear-ended the Davilas’ Nissan in the next lane over and then struck a second vehicle, according to the California Highway Patrol. The Davilas’ car exploded in flames, the CHP said.

Just hours before the crash, Verduzco posted a video on social media from a bar and included the hashtag #Dontdrinkanddrive, KTLA reported.

The Instagram account includes a picture of a man in a police uniform with a badge reading “Verduzco.” The video published from the account Tuesday shows a beer in the background and an animated angry man in a vehicle honking and yelling.

Other videos from the account show a Chevy Camaro and a police officer appearing to be Verduzco in his patrol car on the job, KTLA reported.

LAPD officials said they could not independently verify the authenticity of the Instagram account.

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joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.


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