Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Former Officer Antonio Loza Convicted of Drunk Driving

A former San Mateo police officer has been convicted of drunken driving for crashing into a woman's car after drinking with other off-duty officers at a party, a prosecutor said today.

Antonio Loza, 34, of Belmont entered a no-contest plea Monday before Judge Robert Foiles of San Mateo County Superior Court. Loza was convicted of a misdemeanor count of drunken driving causing injury, said Karen Guidotti, an assistant district attorney.

Loza could face up to 20 days in jail when he is sentenced Jan. 22.

Loza and other off-duty San Mateo officers were drinking at a party March 5 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City, Guidotti said. Loza "drank heavily" and drove off in his car for home, despite his friends' efforts to talk him out of it, authorities said.

Loza plowed into a woman's car while heading west on Highway 92 near Highway 101, Guidotti said. The woman suffered minor cuts and bruises, but her car was a total loss, authorities said.

An investigation by the California Highway Patrol determined that Loza's blood-alcohol level was 0.23 percent, nearly three times the .08 percent level that constitutes drunken driving, authorities said.

An attorney for Loza did not immediately respond to a request for comment today.

Loza was a San Mateo police officer from 2005 until March 12. Deputy Police Chief Mike Callagy declined to specify the manner in which Loza left the department.

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