LASD recruit dies months after being severely injured in wrong-way crash: ‘He will forever live in our hearts’

Following an eight-month hospitalization, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recruit succumbed to his injuries sustained after being struck by a wrong-way driver in Whittier.

Alejandro "Alex" Martinez was one of the 25 cadets from various law enforcement agencies across LA County who was on a training run on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. Around 6:25 a.m., the driver of a Honda CR-V plowed into the members of Academy Class 464 and a light pole near the intersection of Mills Avenue and Telegraph Road, the California Highway Patrol said.

Upon impact, firefighters with LA County Fire Station 96 heard a loud crash and immediately rendered aid to the cadets and called for additional resources. Authorities said 20 law enforcement vehicles from various agencies responded to the scene.

CHP Capt. Charlie Sampson said the driver, later identified as Nicolas Joseph Gutierrez, was going southbound on Mills Avenue when he veered into the opposing lanes and struck the victims running northbound in formation. 


The cadets were rushed, including two who were airlifted, to various hospitals across LA and Orange counties.

Days later, officials said Martinez suffered setbacks and was in "grave condition." He was transferred to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for treatment and died months later. 

"Surrounded by his family, friends, Sheriff (Robert) Luna, and other department members in support of his family, Alejandro has now gone to his eternal resting place," an LASD statement said. "Tragically, he was not able to fulfill his calling of helping others. Our condolences go out to Alejandro's family, friends, and academy classmates.  He will forever live in our hearts and never be forgotten. Words cannot express the extent of our gratitude to everyone who assisted, and continue to assist, and helped ease the burden of that very difficult day."

"We would like to thank the California Highway Patrol Santa Fe Springs Office, CHP Southern Division Investigative Services and M.A.I.T. - Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team for conducting a comprehensive joint investigation with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau, and the numerous Los Angeles County Fire Department stations and the many health care professionals who provided medical care."

City News Service contributed to this report.