Los Angeles Daily News — 8/10/23
LOS ANGELES — A memorial service was held Thursday, Aug. 10, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels for a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recruit who was struck by a wrong-way vehicle while training with dozens of colleagues last year and died on July 28.
Alejandro Martinez, 27, died at UCLA Medical Center in Westwood after an eight-month battle with severe injuries, according to the sheriff’s department.
Archbishop José H. Gomez presided over Thursday’s service at the cathedral, where law enforcement personnel from multiple local, state and federal agencies paid last respects.
Training Bureau Capt. Patrick J. Macdonald, Sheriff Robert Luna and Dayanna Martinez, the fallen recruit’s sister, were among those speaking at the cathedral service, which was closed to the media.
Martinez’s casket was then escorted out of the cathedral with a bagpipe presentation, followed by a procession to Forest Lawn Covina Hills cemetery, where the procession was joined by the Sheriff’s Mounted Enforcement Detail, including a riderless horse, the department said.
The Sheriff’s Department announced Martinez’s death on July 28.
“On November 16, 2022, Alejandro was struck by a vehicle as he trained with his partners from Academy Class No. 464 and fought for his life for the past eight months,” the department said. “Today, Alejandro succumbed to his injuries.
“Surrounded by his family, friends, Sheriff Luna, and other department members in support of his family, Alejandro has now gone to his eternal resting place. 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 & 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.”
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn also paid tribute to Martinez.
“Last year, when we started a new effort to recruit more LASD deputies, Alejandro Martinez answered our call,” Hahn tweeted last month. “His passing, months after that terrible crash, is nothing short of a tragedy. My prayers are with his family, his friends, and his fellow recruits. May he rest in peace.”
Martinez was injured when an SUV swerved into a group of about 75 law enforcement trainees who were on an organized run at around 6:30 a.m. in the 10600 block of Mills Avenue, near Telegraph Road, just blocks from the sheriff’s STARS Explorer Academy law enforcement training center in Whittier.
Sheriff’s officials said the group of recruits was running in columns northbound on the roadway when the southbound SUV swerved to the opposite side of the road and plowed into the trainees, leaving a trail of injured bodies.
The crash injured 25 recruits, including Martinez, sheriff’s officials said at the time.
The motorist who struck the cadets, Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, 22, of Diamond Bar, told reporters in 2022 that he fell asleep at the wheel.
Gutierrez was arrested hours after the crash and booked on suspicion of attempted murder of a peace officer, but was released a day later with sheriff’s officials saying the complex case needed more extensive investigation.