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Fire captain pleads guilty in DUI hit-and-run

September 6, 2011 |  3:34 pm

John David Hines A Long Beach Fire Department captain was convicted Tuesday of severely injuring a cyclist during an April Fools' Day hit-and-run while driving with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal state limit.

John David Hines, 38, of Huntington Beach was ordered to serve 90 days in state prison for a diagnostic evaluation and could face up to six years and eight months in prison at sentencing Dec. 2.

Hines pleaded guilty to felony driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, driving with a blood alcohol over the state limit and hit-and-run with injury. Because his blood-alcohol level was so high, he also was convicted of several sentencing enhancements.

After getting drunk at Schooner or Later bar in Long Beach, Hine drove erratically on Westminster Avenue in Seal Beach in his Chevrolet pickup, heading east, authorities said.

Hines lost control and suddenly swerved into the bike lane and dirt shoulder. Without slowing or hitting his brakes, he drove into cyclist Jeffrey Gordon, 47, said Deputy Orange County Dist. Atty. Andrew Katz. Gordon was thrown from his bike more than 70 feet and landed on the shoulder.

Hines failed to slow or hit his brakes after crashing into the victim and fled the scene, Katz said. Two drivers who witnessed the crash followed Hines and called 911.

Hines drove to his Huntington Beach home, where police detained him.

Responding officers found Hines smelling of alcohol, his eyes bloodshot and watery, and unsteady on his feet. His clothes smelled of urine, they said.

About two hours after the crash, Hines' blood-alcohol level was still three times the legal limit.

His truck had hit the victim so hard, there was a blood splatter on it with significant front-end fender and hood damage.

Gordon was rushed to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center with head trauma, severe lacerations and bruising to his head and body, internal injuries and spinal and vertebrae injuries.

He was hospitalized for two weeks and continues to suffer pain as a result of his injuries, Katz said.


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-- Richard Winton

Photo: John David Hines. Credit: KTLA-TV