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August 18, 2022

Suspected drunk driver flees crash scene on 3 wheels before arrest

WATSONVILLE—A Watsonville man was arrested Monday afternoon on suspicion of DUI and hit and run after Watsonville police caught up with him near his heavily damaged car.

Watsonville Police Department Sgt. Charles Bailey said the man, who has not been identified, slammed into a curb, struck a stop sign and ripped the right front tire and wheel off his black Jaguar sedan around 2:30pm at the corner of Prospect Street and Freedom Boulevard. The driver then backed up, with a young girl aboard, and drove off on three wheels, south on Lincoln Street toward downtown, etching a path with heavy marks in the asphalt as he drove away.

As WPD officer Angel Hernandez pulled in behind the fleeing Jaguar, multiple callers to 911 reported the heavily smoking vehicle traveling along Lincoln Street and turning right onto East Lake Avenue. Bailey said the car then turned right on Main Street, scraping a path about a block before turning into a parking lot behind the Bank of America.

The suspect then abandoned the car, with a caved-in windshield and mangled front end—with the child still inside—and left on foot. Police caught up with him on West Fifth Street moments later and took him into custody.

Bailey said the man would most likely face charges of child endangerment, hit and run, DUI and fleeing the scene of a crime.

The investigation is ongoing. The Jaguar was deemed totaled.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.

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