LA sheriff’s deputy charged with murder over high speed crash that killed boy, 12

Ricardo Castro’s bail has been set at more than $2m

Abe Asher
Thursday 16 February 2023 00:37 GMT
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A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy has been arrested and charged with murder for allegedly causing a car crash while off duty that resulted in the death of a 12-year-old boy.

Ricardo Castro was arrested on Tuesday and booked into the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles, with bail set at more than $2m. The Los Angeles Times reported that, in addition to murder, Mr Castro is also charged with gross negligence and reckless driving.

The crash occurred on November 3, 2021, when the vehicle Mr Castro was driving t-boned the vehicle that Isaiah Suarez Rodriguez was riding in while it was trying to make a turn. Isaiah died at a local hospital after the crash, while his sister Alexa and the three adults riding in the car were injured.

Isaiah’s mother Betsabe Suarez said at a Wednesday press conference with Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announcing the charges that her son was out that November afternoon to get a ruler for a classmate who had lost theirs in a bullying incident.

The street where the crash occurred was in a school zone and had a speed limit of 25 miles per hour, but, according to the Times, Mr Castro was driving at roughly 90 miles per hour. A GoFundMe page set up to help the family defray medical costs associated with the crash raised more than $50,000.

At press conference on Wednesday, Mr Gascón noted that Mr Castro has a history of speeding. According to Mr Gascón, Mr Castro had previously been given multiple traffic tickets and been involved in multiple collisions.

The GoFundMe page paid tribute to Isaiah — both the person he was, and the person he was robbed of the chance of becoming.

“Born and raised in Southern California[,] Isaiah was an avid fan of the Dodgers, Lakers, Kings and Raiders,” the page read. “He was interested in becoming a chef, but like most 12-year-old boys, he loved playing games on his Nintendo Switch. His favorite game was Animal Crossing and he made sure he always had the biggest and coolest village.”

Now, Mr Castro is potentially facing 25 years to life for his alleged role in the crash.

“Mr. Castro’s recklessness ended the life of a boy with an entire future ahead of him and destroyed a family,” Mr Gascón said. “This tragedy was preventable and should have never happened.”

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