GARDEN GROVE, Calif. – A 21-year-old Stanton man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after he crashed into a police vehicle headed the opposite direction. The accident was captured on the officer’s dashboard camera.
At 3:40 a.m. on Monday (Aug. 24), a Garden Grove police officer was driving northbound on Knott Street near Stanford Avenue, when a vehicle driven by A. Berlimo Lopez, of Stanton, crossed the northbound lanes and crashed into the officer’s patrol car, according to a statement from Sgt. Phil Schmidt.
The collision was not minor, both of the vehicles sustained major damage. The officer and Lopez were transported to UCI Medical Center in Orange. The accident left Lopez with serious injuries.
The officer who was driving the patrol car was hurt, but his injuries were not life-threatening. He received treatment for injuries to his left hand and face and was later released, according to Schmidt’s statement.
The police suspect that Lopez was impaired at the time of the collision. He was arrested for driving without a license and on suspicion of felony driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The statement said that he was to be transported to Orange County Jail after his condition improved, The Orange County Register reported.
Why is it a possible felony?
In California, most DUIs are prosecuted as misdemeanors, however, there are exceptions. In Lopez’s case, he not only caused an accident, but he injured a law enforcement officer in a wrong-way crash.
A DUI can be prosecuted as a felony whenever someone else is injured or killed as a result of the impaired driving, and in this case it was a police officer – it couldn’t have gotten any worse.
DUI causing injury is punishable by up to 3 years in prison, with an additional 3 years if the victim is seriously injured.
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If you, or someone you love is facing felony DUI charges in Orange County, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for legal representation. Our founding attorney, Virginia L. Landry is a Board Certified expert in DUI defense, and a member of the National College for DUI defense. Call now!