Allegheny County

Police: Alleged drunk driver who hit Bethel Park police officer has 14 prior DUI convictions

BETHEL PARK, Pa. — Bethel Park police had a driver stopped along South Park Road when another car going by hit one of the officers.

A different officer ran after the car. When the driver stopped and the door opened, the officer said the smell of alcohol hit him.

“I’m just glad that our officer was OK and swift actions of his fellow officers brought this guy to a halt and we’re going to ultimately bring him to justice,” said Bethel Park Police Chief Tim O’Connor.

Police arrested 67-year-old Richard Caporal.

According to the criminal complaint, the “odor of an alcoholic beverage was emanating from the vehicle.” Police also said “Caporal’s speech was also slurred as he spoke.”

“He should not have been driving. We are very fortunate in this case that the officer was clipped by the mirror and just his foot was run over, and he was not hit flush by the front end of the vehicle,” O’Connor said.

The officer was treated at the hospital and is now recovering at home.

Caporal’s DUIs date back to 1974.

In 2011, a judge called him a “highway terrorist” after his 14th DUI.

After that, he was not eligible to get his license back until 2043.

If convicted, this would be his 15th DUI.

“It’s very hard to swallow,” O’Connor said.

He said they do not see a lot of repeat DUI offenders, and he wants to keep it that way.

“Please do not drive drunk. You lose total control of your ability to operate a motor vehicle in a safe and efficient manner and you put the lives of not only police. You put the lives of the innocent public at risk,” O’Connor said.

Caporal has been charged with aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, DUI, accidents involving personal injury while not properly licensed, driving under suspension, reckless driving and criminal mischief.