Merced man suspected of DUI after crash involving multiple vehicles

Merced police reported a pair of separate minor-injury vehicle crashes early Sunday morning, one of which resulted in the arrest of a man suspected of driving under the influence.

The first crash was reported at 3:33 a.m. in the 1200 block of Esplanade Drive, according to Merced police.

Officers responded to the scene after receiving calls of a possible injury accident.

Police said the sequence of events in the crash remains under investigation, and details are preliminary. Investigators believe Matthew Clements, 26, of Merced, was traveling between 50 and 60 mph eastbound on Esplanade Drive in a 2007 Pontiac Grand Am, according to Sgt. Jay Struble.

Clements crashed into a parked van, and the impact apparently forced the engine of the Pontiac to dislodge from the vehicle. Police said the engine traveled about 100 feet and struck another parked vehicle.

Three additional parked vehicles were also damaged after the initial crash between the Pontiac and the van, police said.

Officers found Clements walking down the street after the crash. He admitted to being the driver of the Pontiac and submitted to a blood-alcohol test, police said. Clements complained of pain and was treated at a local hospital. After being treated, he was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of DUI and driving on a suspended license.

The other crash was reported at 8:44 a.m. in the 500 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Merced. Police said the 26-year-old driver and his 34 year-old passenger were traveling southbound in a 1993 Oldsmobile. The driver fell asleep at the wheel, and the car struck a speed-limit sign before hitting a concrete embankment, according to Sgt. Bobby Chapman.

Police said the passenger was treated for minor injuries. The driver was given a field sobriety test, and police determined he was not driving under the influence.

The driver reported that he and the passenger had been returning from a fishing trip when the crash happened.