Richard J. Patterson, Drunk Off-Duty Cop Hurt with Wife in Motorcycle Crash, Draws Jail Time

My former (sniff) colleague Marisa Gerber first reported on Richard J. Patterson, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, being up on multiple charges related to his drunkenly ramming his motorcycle into a vehicle, injuring his wife and himself while off duty. Today, the 38-year-old Covina resident pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of driving with a blood alcohol .08 percent or more causing injury and was sentenced to 45 days in jail. Patterson was originally charged with multiple felony counts and a sentencing enhancement that could have put him behind bars for three years. Perhaps he dipped into that sweet government pension for some righteous legal counsel.

The original felony charges were for driving under the influence causing injury and driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher causing injury, as well as a sentencing enhancement for his blood alcohol level of .15 percent being almost twice the legal limit. The lower range for conviction on those charges is probation and three years in jail is the upper end.

Besides the month-and-a-half of jail, Patterson received three years of informal probation, nine months in a first offender alcohol program and completion of a Mother's Against Drunk Driving Victim's Impact Panel.

Around 6:30 p.m. on July 5, Patterson was heading north on the 405 near Brookhurst Street in Fountain Valley, where he smashed his motorcycle into the back of a car. Although the people in the car weren't hurt, both Patterson and his wife were hospitalized at Western Medical Center. Patterson was treated for injuries to his hip while his wife suffered a knee injury and abrasions to her arms and hand.

Two hours after the crash, Patterson had blood alcohol level of .15 percent, according to California Highway Patrol officers who investigated the wreck.

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