PLAINVILLE – Local officers charged a Hartford police detective with drunk driving early Sunday after a driver reported seeing another motorist nearly hitting guardrails and swerving on the highway, police said.
Detective Robert Lanza, 43, of Wolcott, an 11-year member of the Hartford Police Department, was found nearby and questioned after another driver video-taped him driving erratically westbound on Route 72 at about 12:20 a.m.
Officers found Lanza parked in the entrance of 72 Commons with the engine on. He appeared “extremely intoxicated” with his speech slurred and he smelled of alcohol, Plainville officers said Lanza admitted that he is a Hartford police officer but refused to answer questions on whether he had anything to drink or where he was coming from, police said. He initially responded affirmatively when officers asked him if he was diabetic but then refused treatment by ambulance personnel, a police report said.
Lanza then couldn’t perform simple tests such a counting backwards from 67 to 54 or reciting the alphabet from the letter “D.” He failed sobriety tests which he couldn’t perform without swaying and then had to be brought to the ground to be handcuffed. He was charged with operating under the influence and interfering with police.
Plainville officers notified Hartford police of his arrest, Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley said. Hartford police will be conducting an internal affairs investigation into the arrest which will include a review of all Plainville’s documents and evidence, including the video shot by the driver who reported the incident.
Foley did not respond to questions on Lanza’s status with the department Monday. He was released from the Plainville Police Department after posting $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Bristol Superior Court Sept. 5.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.