A jury convicted a A Valinda man of drunken driving and leading West Covina police on a pursuit that ended in a crash that left 10 people hurt, officials said.
The Pomona jury deliberated for less than three hours before finding Robert Anthony Lopez, 27, guilty of fleeing police in a motor vehicle resulting in serious bodily injury, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury within 10 years of a previous DUI offense and driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent causing injury within 10 years of a previous DUI offense, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in an email. He pleaded “no contest” earlier to driving on a suspended or revoked license following a previous offense.
Nine innocent bystanders, as well as Lopez himself, suffered injuries in the July 18, 2016, crash at Francisquito and Walnut avenues, in the unincorporated county area of Valinda.
He faces up to 24 years behind bars when he returns to the Pomona Branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, Ardalani said.
The chase started in West Covina, where police tried to pull Lopez over in an Acura for speeding and blowing through a stop sign, Ardalani said in a written statement.
Lopez ultimately crashed into a Nissan Maxima, which spun out of control and struck a Ford Expedition,
A woman inside the Nissan and her to young daughters were hurt, along with a drive and five passengers inside the Ford, California Highway Patrol officials said.
Firefighters had to free freed Lopez from his mangled car, officials said.
According to prosecutors, Lopez was previously convicted of reckless driving and driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent in 2015.
PHOTO courtesy Saul Sanchez