Merced man arrested following DUI crash, police say

A 36-year-old Merced man was arrested Monday after crashing his car into a tree while allegedly driving drunk, the Merced Police Department confirmed.

Pao C. Saechao told police he was drinking at a bar before his 1990 Toyota pickup hit a tree in the 1200 block of G Street in Merced, Capt. Bimley West told the Sun-Star.

Saechao allegedly crashed into tree around 9:30 p.m. Monday, flipping his truck over and trapping him inside, West said.

Merced firefighters removed Saechao from the vehicle, and he was taken to a regional hospital for a medical evaluation.

“The officers could smell a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath and on his person,” West said. “He told the officers he’d had a shot of (whiskey) just before he left the establishment where he’d been drinking.”

No other vehicles were involved and no injuries were reported.

Saechao was taken from the hospital to the Merced County Jail, where he was booked on suspicion of drunken driving and driving on a suspended license. He was still in custody Tuesday afternoon with bail set at more than $1,000, according to booking records.

Merced Superior Court records show Saechao was convicted Feb. 26 on a drunken-driving charge. He was sentenced to four days in jail, three years of probation and nines months of participation in a DUI education program.