One stop of a suspected drunken driver early Sunday yielded three arrests when a second inebriated driver plowed into a patrol car – injuring the first driver pulled over – and a third nearly hit an officer conducting traffic control, authorities said.
The chain of events began when California Highway Patrol officers Charlie Wright and Santos Romo pulled over Giovanni Perez, 41, of Delhi about 2:15 a.m. The officers saw his red Pontiac Grand Am swerving on southbound Highway 99, north of Keyes Road, CHP Sgt. Ben Moser said.
On the right shoulder of the road, Romo instructed Perez to perform field sobriety tests as Wright faced traffic and “covered,” or watched for potential hazards.
“This exact scenario is why we have a cover and a contact person,” Moser said.
Wright saw a white Acura drifting toward them on the shoulder and yelled for everyone to get out of the way.
Romo moved quickly, but Perez, because of his inebriated state, stumbled and fell, authorities said.
The Acura slammed into the back of the patrol car, which was pushed forward on top of Perez’s legs and hit the back of his Pontiac. His left ankle was temporarily pinned under the vehicle, Moser said.
The Acura spun out of control and came to rest in the slow and middle lanes of southbound 99. The driver, 23-year-old Macy Falke of Turlock, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence – a felony because of the injuries suffered by Perez. Falke had minor injuries.
His DUI charge was a misdemeanor, for which he was cited and released to the hospital with major injuries, Moser said.
Sometime during the hour emergency personnel were at the crash, a third DUI suspect nearly hit an officer directing traffic, Moser said.
Anabertha Diego, 26, of Modesto also was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Moser said the CHP increases patrols for the holiday season. There are many maximum enforcement periods to target DUI drivers, but Sunday was not one of those periods, he said.