A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and crashing his patrol vehicle Friday night in the Santa Clarita area, the department said in a statement Saturday after -midday.
Deputy Carlos Lopez disappeared for nearly an hour after the crash on Pico Canyon Road and Southern Oaks Drive at Stevenson Ranch, prompting a major law enforcement response, sources say weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reported that the deputy was found shortly after at his nearby home.
Lopez is a member of the department’s elite Special Enforcement Bureau, which includes SWAT, sources told The Times.
Lopez was taken to Henry Mayo Hospital for treatment due to a possible head injury and was released shortly thereafter. He was arrested and released with a misdemeanor citation for driving under the influence, one of the sources told The Times. He was relieved of his duties, the ministry said.
The investigation began after the deputy’s patrol SUV was found crushed in some bushes around 9:30 p.m., according to NBC4. The missing deputy was found at 10:20 p.m., deputy Brenda Serna, a department spokeswoman, said Friday night.
The Signal quoting an unnamed source said the deputy was on his way home from work. Another off-duty deputy came to the scene and took him home, one of the sources told The Times. It is not known if this deputy will also face charges or disciplinary action.
On Friday evening, Serna declined to provide details of where the deputy was found, but said the officer was conscious and breathing.
“Due to the active investigation, we are unable to comment further,” the department said in its statement on Saturday.
Lopez had a backup firearm with him at the time of the crash, a source told The Times. Another source told The Times Lopez left his gun, phone and SWAT gear in the vehicle at the time of the accident.
Times reporters James Queally and Gregory Yee contributed to this report.
Los Angeles Times