A California Highway Patrol officer who was arrested for driving under the influence in the parking lot of the San Luis Obispo CHP office pleaded no contest to DUI on Tuesday and will receive a two-day jail sentence.
On the morning of July 27, Gary Dana drove his BMW to the CHP office on California Boulevard, put on his uniform and defied the orders of a sergeant who suspected he was intoxicated. Dana drove his squad car about 10 feet before getting arrested for DUI. Dana had a blood alcohol level of .15, according to the arrest report.
In addition to spending time in jail, Dana must pay a fine of $2,415 and serve three years of probation. Prosecutors dropped a second DUI charge in exchange for Dana’s plea. Despite his plea, Dana remains on duty as the CHP conducts an administrative review of his case.
At about 5:30 a.m. on July 27, Sgt. Diego Flores noticed that Dana was not at the morning briefing. A few minutes later, Dana walked into the briefing room, flicked on a second set of lights and then complained about the brightness, according to the arrest report.
Flores noticed that Dana’s eyes were bloodshot and that he appeared to be intoxicated. Following the briefing, Flores instructed Dana to met him in the sergeants’ room.
But Dana took a set of keys from the CHP vehicle key board and left the office. Flores trailed Dana to the parking lot and found him sitting in a squad car with the engine running. The sergeant again ordered Dana to meet him in the sergeants’ room.
Dana then backed up the patrol car and began to drive toward the CHP facility gate.
“I hollered at Dana to stop as he shifted to drive and drove forward approximately 10 feet before he stopped,” Flores wrote in the arrest report. “I opened the passenger door and ordered Dana to place the vehicle in park and turn the engine off.”
Dana turned the engine off and handed Flores the keys. Flores escorted Dana to the sergeants’ room, conducted a DUI investigation and arrested the officer for drunk driving.
At one point, Dana admitted to drinking a single vodka cranberry at 9 p.m. on July 26.
Dana is required to check into the San Luis Obispo County Jail on Dec. 7.