Former Fullerton Police Chief Says Ex-City Manager’s DUI Stop Handled With “Objectivity”

Former Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes said Monday the investigation of ex-City Manager Joe Felz’ election night car crash was handled in a way that considered “objectivity.”

“Especially in the city of Fullerton… those type of incidents are going to, what I describe, blow up. No matter what that decision made, regarding the outcome of the case. There will be allegations, conspiracy theories,” Hughes said

In the early morning of Nov. 9, after attending election night parties, Felz crashed his minivan within a half a mile of his house in a residential neighborhood north of downtown.

He drove over a curb and into a tree. A witness called police as Felz reportedly tried to drive away. When police arrived, they said they smelled alcohol on Felz but did not give him a breathalyzer test and drove him home, according to a memo from Hughes. In March, the District Attorney’s office charged Felz with driving under the influence.

Hughes said the Fullerton Police Department conducted an investigation of the crash and “it’s that investigation and my notifying the District Attorneys office and requesting them to investigate that led to him … ultimately being charged”

Hughes, testifying at an unrelated public nuisance hearing in the City Council chambers, was asked if Felz got favorable treatment.

“What was special about this was that it involved our city manager. So, in cases that involve a city councilmember, city manager, another city employee … those are cases that generally speaking they would wake a police chief up and let them know about that,” Hughes said, adding that he explained the protocol to Felz.

Hughes said if the police supervisor thought Felz was over the legal alcohol limit after preliminary sobriety tests, they “were going to push the pause button and we would call the CHP or a neighboring agency to come and handle the investigation.”

The goal is to provide “some objectivity,“ he said, “especially in the city of Fullerton, where there seems to be such anti-government conspiracy theories from folks that have some emotional issues or some mental issues.”

When attorneys asked why there was no breathalyzer or urine tests administered to Felz, the hearing officer cut them off and cited irrelevance to the public nuisance case.

Spencer Custodio is a Voice of OC intern. He can be reached at

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  • Jack Milliken

    No breathalyzer after running over a curb & crashing into a tree? Must be nice to have friends in high places

    • Jane Rands

      Ah. According to former Chief Hughes YOU are an anti-government conspiracy theorist who is mentally ill.

      But in my opinion, you are simply a logical person.

      So glad the former chief has left Fullerton so that we may now select a new chief, hopefully one who will honor the position with honesty, integrity, and respect for the residents of Fullerton (or any independent critical thinking person who might object to shenanigans).

      • LFOldTimer

        Now that Chief Hughes runs security at Disney he can sink his teeth into some meaningful conspiracies and go undercover as a newly introduced Disney character Thumper Wabbit to figure out why Pluto and Goofy rendezvous w/ Butch the Bulldog and Salty the Seal on Main St. after midnight.

        Go get ’em, Danno.

  • Paul Lucas

    Someone needs to go to jail for this cover up.

    • LFOldTimer


      Are you hummin’ me?

      They’ll all get promos & pay raises!!! heh.

    • Joe Imbriano
      • LFOldTimer

        Joe, I watched both Part 1 and Part 2. I want to thank you for being a civically engaged and concerned citizen with the courage to confront government wrongdoing when you see it. That is the kind of stuff that our great nation was founded upon. That’s the kind of stuff that supplements men and women who have risked their lives in foreign lands to secure our freedoms. It’s folks like you who are the reason we don’t have full-blown tyranny at our doorsteps. But few people have the guts or the tenacity that you demonstrate. And you conduct yourself in a very professional and matter-of-fact manner that is highly commendable. I have no idea whether you’re a believer – but may God watch over you and provide you with whatever you need in life.

        You had that FPD cop dancing in circles. Like a deer in the headlights. He knew you had the facts on your side. But he delivered the same old pat answers, even in the face of ALL the evidence that you presented. Whenever they screw up they claim it’s under internal review – hoping that they can string it out long enough so that everyone forgets about it. If average Joe Citizen was under investigation it would only take a week or two until a they’d reach a conclusion. If a cop is under investigation it takes months or years. There’s your ‘higher standard’ myth in action.

        Thanks again for your activism. It’s people like you who keep us safe.

  • LFOldTimer

    ““Especially in the city of Fullerton… those type of incidents are going to, what I describe, blow up. No matter what that decision made, regarding the outcome of the case. There will be allegations, conspiracy
    theories,” Hughes said”

    What a laugh and a half.

    Put average Joe Citizen in the same situation. Early morning hours driving home from a bar. Runs into a tree. Damages the tree and the car. Cop pulls him over a short time later after a concerned citizen calls it in. No breathalyzer test. Allegedly perform a sobriety test. But where’s the video? Then the cops give him a ride home!!! ha. I wonder if the cops gave him milk and cookies and put him to bed too?? lol.

    Conspiracy theories??? LOL!

    Then the cops take offense when people criticize them!!! ha.

    We live in a bizarre world.

    • Joe Imbriano

      I have confirmation that there is video of the event as the officers had all their body cameras rolling. The fact the the DA felt he had enough evidence to charge Felz when the FPD didn’t proves the inversion of the process at the local level.

      • LFOldTimer

        They generally release the information to the public if it substantiates their side of the story. I’ve seen this with police shootings and in cases that alleged police abuse.

        Otherwise, if it contradicts their story they do whatever is necessary to conceal it and make you fight tooth and nail to get it. Sometimes in million dollar settlements the video evidence is forever blocked from public’s view. Innocent taxpayers are forced to pay without knowing what we’re paying for.

        It’s a dirty system, Joe. But I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know.

  • Fullerton’s Future

    Hughes apparently has no regrets for trying to let the city manager escape a DUI and then covering it up. Where I come from, that’s called “corruption.”

    Fullerton PD’s reputation has been destroyed under Hughes’ leadership, both as a captain and chief. Farewell.

    • David Zenger

      You have mental issues.

      • Fullerton’s Future


        P.S. Danny Hughes, you owe us some phone records from November 9th.

        • LFOldTimer

          Who was the FPD Captain on duty on the night Kelly Thomas was beaten to a bloody pulp and put into a comatose state? The one who called the shots and let the cops rewrite their reports after reviewing the beating video?

          • David Zenger

            Um, Dan Hughes?

          • LFOldTimer

            If your guess is correct it may provide more valuable information for the reader per his latest comment.

          • Fullerton’s Future

            It’s not a guess. Captain Hughes was in charge the night Kelly Thomas was murdered. He also instructed the officers to get their stories straight with each other before they wrote the police reports.

          • LFOldTimer

            Well thank you for the clarification.

            I have no reason to disbelieve what you say.

            Now the people have more information to form their opinions.

            It’s very sad when those given tremendous authority over our lives make spurious statements that raise red flags and confuse those of us who pay attention.

    • Joe Imbriano

      No Tony that is called obstruction of justice and is a felony