A deputy for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. was charged with murder Wednesday for a 2021 car accident that took the life of a 12-year-old boy.
In the November 2021 incident, off-duty deputy Ricardo Castro, 28, allegedly crashed his pickup truck into another vehicle near a South Gate Middle School, on the intersection of Firestone Boulevard and San Juan Avenue.
It is alleged that the off-duty deputy reached speeds of at least 95 mph in a 35 mph school zone that reduces to 25 mph when children are present. At the alleged high speed, Castro hit a car carrying Isaiah Suarez Rodriguez and his then 19-year-old sister who was making a left turn on the street.
“The deputy showed a conscious disregard for the lives and safety of the people of South Gate by recklessly speeding on a busy street,” Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón said. “The behavior is even more confounding since this happened in an area designated as a zone where school children were present.”
Both Rodriguez and his sister were taken to a local hospital, with the young boy succumbing to his injuries.
“This investigation required a tremendous amount of patience and expertise to ensure that we had all of the factual information and evidence aligned before presenting our case to the District Attorney’s Office,” South Gate Police Chief Darren Arakawa said in a statement Wednesday. “It seems commonplace in Los Angeles County to see some motorist driving recklessly and at freeway speeds on residential and business streets. The outcome of these driving habits of some sadly have irreparable consequences.”
Castro had a history of traffic tickets that included speeding, and had been involved in multiple car collisions prior to the fatal one.
The arraignment for Castro will continue to March 23 and he is currently being held on $2 million bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in L.A. Castro will also have a bail review hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
Being charged with one count of murder, one count of reckless driving causing great bodily injury and one count of vehicular manslaughter, Castro faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
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