A Florida Highway Patrol trooper chased down off-duty Miami Police Officer Fausto Lopez and detained him at gunpoint, after clocking him driving 120 mph in his cruiser, reports the Miami Herald.
Trooper D.J. Watts chased Officer Lopez on Florida's Turnpike in Broward County, after observing him make several unsafe lane changes. Officer Lopez slowed down to 72 mph, and then sped up, eventually pulling over for the trooper.
Trooper Watts is seen approaching the vehicle, drawing her weapon and ordering Officer Lopez out of the vehicle at gunpoint. The trooper then placed him in handcuffs. He was eventually cited and released.
Trooper Watts came to the conclusion that Officer Lopez wasn't responding to a call because his lights and sirens weren't activated, and considered that the cruiser may have been stolen, Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Wysocky tells POLICE Magazine.
"She wrote in her incident report [that] based on his driving pattern she didn't know what she had," Sgt. Wysocky said. "Considering he was way out of his city by several miles. If you're going to a call, you're probably going to put on some lights and sirens."
Officer Lopez has been charged with misdemeanor reckless driving, and faces a fine of $25-$500 if it's his first offense. Florida speeders are charged with an infraction regardless of the speed, and can face a $1,000 fine if clocked driving at least 40 mph above the posted limit.
Officer Lopez could face disciplinary action, depending on the outcome of his court case. The department's Internal Affairs unit will issue an administrative ruling, after conducting its own probe, Miami PD's Commander Delrich Moss tells POLICE Magazine. Commander Moss said he wouldn't second-guess the trooper's decision to detain Officer Lopez at gunpoint.
"They have their procedures, and we won't Monday-morning-quarterback them," Commander Moss said. "It would be inappropriate to speculate on why they did what they did."
By Paul Clinton