Los Angeles man in fatal Palm Springs crash pleads guilty to murder

In July, a vehicle driven by the man rear-ended another vehicle at the intersection of Sunrise Way and East Palm Canyon Drive, killing its driver and injuring a child.
Markings from a police investigation of a fatal collision are seen at the intersection of East Palm Canyon Drive and Sunrise Way.

A Los Angeles man who caused a fatal Palm Springs crash in July while driving under the influence of alcohol pleaded guilty Thursday to a murder charge.

In addition to murder, Kevin Atteberry, 57, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury and DUI of alcohol with 0.08% or more causing bodily injury, as well as one misdemeanor count of driving with a suspended or revoked license, according to court records. He additionally faces sentence-enhancing allegations of causing great bodily injury.

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Atteberry is set to be sentenced in February at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.

At around 9:30 p.m. July 30, the vehicle Atteberry was driving was traveling south on Sunrise Way when it rear-ended another vehicle stopped at the intersection of East Palm Canyon Drive, according to the Palm Springs Police Department. The driver of the rear-ended vehicle, Burbank resident Erik Verdian, died at the scene. A child was taken to the Loma Linda Medical Center with head and neck pain, a laceration on his right heel and a brain bleed.

A third and fourth vehicle were also struck, but no other occupants were injured, according to a police report.

Atteberry is also suspected of causing a non-injury hit-and-run collision on North Sunrise Way and East Ramon Road prior to the fatal crash. He was taken to a hospital after the fact and according to police spoke slow with slurred speech and had red, bloodshot or watery eyes, refusing to speak about the events that took place.

He received medical treatment for more than two months before he was released on Oct. 9 and surrendered at the police department, according to police.

Atteberry had a prior DUI conviction.   He remains jailed at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning without bail.

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