FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The Miami police officer who was caught doing more than 100 mph on the Florida Turnpike by a Highway Patrol trooper accepted a plea deal in court on Thursday.
Fausto Lopez pled no contest to a reckless driving charge; a misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail.
Lopez’s attorney Al Milian asked that the judge withhold adjudication because his client was a great guy, a good family man and a dedicated officer with a spotless record who puts his life on the line daily.
“This does not involve moral turpitude, it doesn’t involve an issue of integrity it doesn’t involve dishonesty, it doesn’t involve a crime that has victimized the community,” Milian told the judge.
Lopez was ordered to pay the costs of prosecution, $3,300, and perform 100 hours of community service. He will not have to serve any jail time or probation.
Prosecutor David Schultz asked the judge to consider a Sun Sentinel investigation. Schultz said it showed Lopez as “the worst of the worst” when it came to officers speeding on the turnpike.
“He was in excess of 100 miles per hour during this one year period 154 times. He traveled in excess of 90 miles per hour 379 times,” Schultz said quoting the Sun Sentinel investigation.
Lopez was clocked by state trooper Donna Jane Watts doing 120 mph on October 11, 2011.
When he finally pulled over, she arrested the uniformed officer at gunpoint, although reports came out later that a supervisor had told her to “back off” and not pull Lopez over. Lopez later said he was on his way to an off-duty assignment.
Watts told state investigators that she continued to follow his squad car because she feared the vehicle was stolen since she believed no officer would drive so fast and so dangerously.
Video of the 7-minute pursuit made national news and ignited a firestorm between his department and the Florida Highway Patrol.
The Miami Police Department has held off disciplining the 6-year-police veteran until his court case was resolved