California

Authorities: DUI suspect arrested after crashing into police vehicle

A suspected drunken driver who allegedly crashed his car into a Merced police vehicle and then tried to flee remained behind bars Thursday, according to authorities.

No injuries were reported.

Joel A. Alvarez, 20, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of hit-and-run and drunken driving, the California Highway Patrol said in a news release. Alvarez was still in custody Thursday without bail at the Merced County Jail, according to booking records.

Alvarez on Monday admitted violating his probation, which included a prior DUI conviction, two days before allegedly crashing into a Merced police officer while driving drunk, according to Merced Superior Court records.

The CHP said Alvarez was driving a 1994 Cadillac Brougham around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday west on Gettysburg Avenue with his headlights off.

Merced police Officer Christian Lupian spotted the vehicle heading directly at his police cruiser and “attempted an evasive maneuver, but was unable to avoid the Cadillac,” the CHP said.

The left side of the Cadillac struck the left side of the police cruiser, a 2014 Chevrolet Caprice. Officers said Alvarez drove away from the scene, onto Branco Avenue.

Lupian chased the Cadillac down a short time later, stopping the vehicle on East South Bear Creek, the CHP said.

Officers said Alvarez appeared intoxicated and was arrested.

According to Merced Superior Court records, Alvarez pleaded no contest June 20 to driving drunk, a misdemeanor, and a felony count of grand theft. He admitted violating his probation Monday and was released on electronic monitor, court records show.

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