SAFFORD – A Safford police officer on patrol in an unmarked car on Friday observed a white pickup rapidly accelerate from the parking lot of the Economy Inn as it turned onto Highway 70. At approximately 10:15 p.m., the pickup slightly spun its tires as it entered into the turn lane heading west on Highway 70. The officer pulled behind the vehicle and followed it. The officer clocked the pickup traveling 44 MPH in a posted 35 mile and hour zone. As the officer continued to follow, the pickup rode against the center yellow line and weaved in its lane. As the truck entered the intersection of 5th Avenue and Highway 70, the officer activated his emergency lights but the pickup turned south onto 5th Avenue, then turned west onto Main Street, failing to stop for a flashing red light at the intersection. The truck finally parked crooked on the north side of Main Street.
The officer approached the driver’s side of the vehicle. He could smell alcohol emanating from the vehicle. The driver had bloodshot, watery eyes. When the officer asked the driver if he knew why he’d been stopped, the driver, identified as Arturo Mendivil, said that he took a wrong turn. He told the officer that he was on his way to the American Club to have a few beers. He reportedly told the officer that he had already consumed 4 to 5 beers.
Mendivil had an open container of beer, which he admitted that he had put in the back seat when the officer stopped him. After failing several field sobriety tests, Mendovil admitted that there was no way he would pass a breath test and asked if someone could come get his truck. The portable breath test registered 0.198%.
Mendivil was placed under arrest and his vehicle was released to a friend who was on scene. After completing a blood draw at the police department Mendivil was released pending the results.