HAYWARD -- A 38-year-old parolee convicted of severely injuring a Fremont police officer by ramming him with a stolen van was sentenced Tuesday to 21 years-to-life in state prison.
Alexander Diaz, who sat in court while clad in a red county-issued jumpsuit, showed no emotion as Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy delivered the sentence.
He was convicted last month of attempted murder of a police officer, vehicle theft and grand theft in the Oct. 4, 2010, incident that injured Officer Patrick Brower.
Diaz stole an electronics store delivery van that morning, When Brower began pursuing the stolen vehicle, Diaz slammed the van into Brower and the motorcycle he was riding, pushing the officer across two lanes of traffic into a light pole. Brower suffered a number of injuries, including a compound fracture in one leg, broken toes and a torn rotator cuff.
"This was a particularly despicable act on your part," Murphy said to Diaz in the Hayward courtroom. "It was cowardly and callous."
Diaz received 16 years and four months for his felony convictions, with an additional three years for causing great bodily injury and a year for use of a deadly weapon, Murphy said.
Diaz, who was convicted in 2009 of grand theft, received an extra year for the previous felony conviction.
If Diaz is ever released from prison, he will be placed on parole for five years, Murphy said.
Before the sentencing, deputy district attorney Brian
Barbara Thomas, a public defender representing Diaz, said he has been very remorseful about Brower's injuries in conversations with her and that his chronic drug use clouded his judgment during the incident.
Brower still is recovering from his injuries and has yet to return to active duty. That has taken a psychological toll on him and his family, said police Chief Craig Steckler, who sat in the courtroom with 10 uniformed Fremont officers.
"I beseech the court to give (Diaz) the highest maximum sentence," Steckler said, addressing the judge before the sentencing. "The defendant made some choices when he made eye contact with Officer Brower that day and now he has to face the consequences."
Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.