Within 17 minutes in Turlock early Sunday morning, one driver suspected of driving under the influence hurtled his sports car into a stranger's kitchen and another rolled her SUV after hitting a tree, sending one female passenger to the hospital, authorities reported.
The passenger was in stable condition Sunday night at Memorial Medical Center, a nursing supervisor said.
Despite the proximity and timing, the accidents did not appear related, Turlock police Sgt. Nino Amirfar said. Police don't know whether the drivers had been drinking at bars, but Amirfar said the time was significant because bars close about 2 a.m.
The first accident happened at 2:10 a.m. when Eric Jergenson, 25, of Turlock lost control of his Audi TT and drove into a house on the 4500 block of Sunny Oak Drive, Amirfar said. Jergenson ran from the car because he was afraid it might explode, but called 911 minutes later to report the crash.
The house was empty -- the homeowner was in Sacramento -- so no one was hurt in the crash. The car remained in the house's kitchen Sunday eve- ning. It could not be removed because of structural damage, Amirfar said.
Jergenson was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, Amirfar said. Jergenson was cited and released.
Seventeen minutes later and within a few blocks, 25-year-old Victoria Pargaz was driving her Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle when she lost control, rolled over and hit a tree, Amirfar said. Her female passenger was hurt in the crash, but Amirfar did not know the extent of the passenger's injuries.
"She suffered serious enough injuries to be taken by ambulance to Memorial," he said.
Pargaz was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and drunken driving causing injury, a felony. She was taken to jail but no longer was in custody Sunday night.
Such crashes aren't "accidents," said Amirfar, who just finished work on a drunken driving awareness program through the California Highway Patrol called "Every 15 Minutes."
"They're drunk driving collisions," he said. "It was a poor choice they made to drive while intoxicated. They should have called someone."
Bee staff writer Emilie Raguso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2235.