Off-Duty Beverly Hills Officer Arrested on Suspicion of DUI After Simi Valley Crash

Homeowner Jean Donato described the "pure shock" of the pickup crashing into her Simi Valley home

By Jonathan Lloyd and Toni Guinyard
|  Wednesday, Sep 5, 2012  |  Updated 12:52 PM PDT
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The off-duty officer was arrested and booked on suspicion of DUI after the crash in Simi Valley. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.

The off-duty officer was arrested and booked on suspicion of DUI after the crash in Simi Valley. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.

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Homeowner: It Was Just Pure Shock

Homeowner Jean Donato explains what happened when an off-duty officer crashed his pickup through her Simi Valley home. Raw Video
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An off-duty Beverly Hills police officer was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after crashing a pickup into a utility pole, house and retaining wall late Tuesday in Simi Valley.

The pickup, the officer's personal vehicle, came to a stop upside-down on top of the retaining wall. The crash also ruptured a natural gas line, prompting a response from utility crews early Wednesday.

"The damage was mostly contained to the retaining wall and the side of the house," said Sgt. James Buckley, of the Simi Valley Police Department. "No intrusion was made into the house."

The home of Jean Donato, a 40-year Simi Valley resident, was damaged. She was in bed with her dog watching television when the house started shaking.

"He hit the telephone pole and knocked the bottom half of the pole out," Donato said. "Then it took out my retaining wall, the fence, the pool equipment, the air conditioner, the gas line, and then hit the corner of my house. The car ended up flipping and coming through my bedroom wall.

"It was just pure shock. I was scared to death. I was just real grateful to be alive."

Donato's first concern was the condition of the driver.

"It's a miracle that man's alive," Donato said as she looked at the damaged wall and fence on her property.

Jeffrey Sweet, 42, was booked into Ventura County Jail after the 10:30 p.m. crash near the intersection of Blackstock and Royal avenues. He was treated for minor injuries at the hospital.

An internal administrative investigation will be conducted by the Beverly Hills Police Department, according to a statement from police. The Simi Valley Police Department will conduct the driving under the influence investigation.

A blood-alcohol test was performed, but results were not immediately available, according to authorities.

Sweet was released from jail Wednesday morning, according to jail records. A court appearance was scheduled for Oct. 5.

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