BROWARD COUNTY -- A Miami Police officer was arrested at gunpoint and charged with reckless driving after allegedly leading the Florida Highway Patrol on a seven-minute chase in his squad car at speeds that reached 120 mph on Florida’s Turnpike in Broward County earlier this month.
A highway patrol trooper pulled out her gun to arrest Fausto López, 35, after he reportedly ignored repeated warnings to stop.
López could not be reached for comment. As of Saturday, he was still assigned to regular duty at the Miami Police Department, said Cmdr. Delrish Moss, “because at this point it’s a traffic offense.”
The incident, first reported by Univision 23, started at 6:28 a.m. Oct. 11 on the southbound turn- pike at Commercial Boulevard, when a trooper, identified as D.J. Watts, saw a Miami patrol car switching lanes in a dangerous manner.
Watts turned on her lights and siren but couldn’t reach López, who was driving more than 120 mph, the report said.
At about 6:33 a.m., Watts caught up to López. When she pulled in back of López’s car, she once again activated her lights and siren, but López ig- nored the warnings, according to the report, and kept going.
Finally, at 6:35 a.m., seven minutes after the start of the high-speed chase, López stopped his car near Hollywood.
An FHP video given to Univision shows Watts approaching López’s car with her gun drawn.
“She drew her gun for her own safety based on the actions of the driver,” said Sgt. Mark Wysocky, an FHP spokesman in Broward.
Watts ordered López to step out of the vehicle, handcuffed and detained him. As he was getting out of his vehicle, López explained to Watts that he was driving so quickly because he was late to his off-duty job, which started at 7 a.m.
López was released, but criminally charged with reckless driving, which is considered a second-degree misdemeanor.
Miami Police spokesman Moss said the Florida Highway Patrol alerted them to the episode right away.
“We immediately launched an administrative investigation,” he said.
“However, we’re taking a back seat, and watching the criminal process as it takes place. At the conclusion of the criminal process we will take whatever administrative action we deem necessary.”