Safford police were called to Walmart on Monday, January 6, 2020 in response to an accident in the parking lot. The reporting party waved officers down as they arrived on the scene at approximately 1:40 p.m. He told them that the man who had backed into his car was walking away from the area toward Thatcher Blvd. The man the reporting party pointed out appeared to be intoxicated.
An officer made contact with the man, later identified as Curtis Pederson, in the Taco Taste parking lot. Pederson initially ignored the officer’s presence but eventually stopped for the officer. The officer noted that Pederson was staggering and stumbling as he walked.
The officer asked Pederson if he had backed into a vehicle in the Walmart parking lot. Pederson denied the accusation. Pederson admitted that he had driven to Walmart and denied trying to leave the area in his vehicle. He told the officer that he was trying to walk back to the motel where he was staying.
The reporting party, who was the victim in the accident, told police that he saw a light blue Honda hatchback trying to reverse. As the vehicle backed up, it ran into the rear of the victim’s parked vehicle. The vehicle then circled toward the grocery side entrance and parked toward the back of the parking lot.
The victim approached Pederson, who was driving the Honda. Pederson reportedly tried to enter back into Walmart, but was stopped by the victim. They walked back to Pederson’s vehicle and Pederson tried to get into the car but was stopped by the victim. At that point, Pederson tried to leave the area on foot and was stopped by the police.
Dispatch advised the officers that Pederson’s license had been suspended for failure to appear.
Pederson was placed under arrest for Aggravated DUI. His vehicle was impounded. He was taken to the Safford police department for processing. At the police station he admitted that he had been driving and made a mistake. He said that he did not realize that he had backed into a parked vehicle. Pederson was released from custody and taken to his motel room.