MIAMI – A Miami-Dade police officer will spend no jail time for a hit-and-run crash he caused in August when he showed signs of being drunk.
Larry LaVerde pleaded no contest Wednesday to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident in return for spending one year on probation and performing 250 hours of community service. His state law enforcement certification will still be valid, though he remains on paid suspension from the department pending its own internal investigation.
LaVerde was off-duty but driving his marked police vehicle when, according to witnesses, he sped through a red light at a southwest Miami-Dade intersection and hit several cars.
LaVerde took off and went home, police said. Waiting more than an hour, he then called his sergeant, a friend, in a panic, admitting he "f***ed up". The sergeant reported smelling alcohol on LaVerde's breath, and turned him in.
Read: Close-out memo
The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office's close-out memo describes why they had to drop the charge of driving under the influence. By the time LaVerde faced investigators that morning, his blood alcohol limit was below Florida's legal limit of 0.08, making the evidence "not as strong" and "difficult to prove" in court. Laverde also performed favorably on the field sobriety test.