Erratic driving late at night prompted a southwest metro police officer to pull over a pickup truck and jail the driver, an off-duty Minneapolis officer, on suspicion of drunken driving, authorities said Thursday.

James J. Lopez, 53, of St. Paul, was stopped about 12:30 a.m. Sunday on Egan Drive south of Louisiana Avenue in Savage, said Police Chief Rodney Seurer.

“The vehicle was observed crossing the centerline,” Seurer said, explaining what prompted his officer to pull over the pickup. “The [Minneapolis] officer then rapidly corrected his path and shot toward the fog line [to the right].”

Seurer said Lopez cooperated during the stop and did not try to use his position as a law-enforcement officer to avoid arrest. Lopez’s wife was in the pickup at the time, the chief said.

Lopez was jailed, charged Wednesday with fourth- and third-degree drunken driving and has since been released. The latter charge, a gross misdemeanor, was added because he refused to submit to a preliminary breath test.

Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said the department is “aware of an incident and are investigating internally.” He did not address whether Lopez’s job status has been affected.

Lopez will make his first court appearance in Scott County on Feb. 22.


Star Tribune staff writer Liz Sawyer contributed to this report.