Suspect followed after alleged hit and run

SAFFORD – A woman called authorities last Friday night at approximately 11:00 p.m. to report that she had been rear ended at a stop sign at the intersection of 8th Avenue and El Paso Boulevard.  The woman said that the suspect had driven away after the collision. At the time of the call the woman was following the suspect. Three Safford police officers responded to the call and an officer caught up to the reporting party, who identified the vehicle in front of her as the one involved in the collision. The officer activated his emergency lights and pulled the suspect over in the 900 block of east Highway 70.

The woman who had reported the incident pulled up behind the officer who pulled the suspect over. She said that she was stopped at the stop sign at 8th Avenue and El Paso Boulevard, facing east. She said that the other party had rear ended her vehicle and drove off. Both cars were examined but authorities were unable to find any damage to either vehicle.

An officer made contact with the driver of the other vehicle and immediately smelled a strong odor of alcohol inside the vehicle. The driver reportedly had bloodshot, watery eyes. The officer told the driver why he had stopped him and asked if he had been involved in a collision. The driver said that he didn’t remember being in a collision. As the driver spoke, the officer could smell alcohol emanating from the man’s breath. The man said that he had consumed a few beers. When the officer asked for the man’s license and registration, the man tried to hand him his credit card and then found his driver’s license.

The driver was identified as an 18 year old by his license. The officer performed some field sobriety tests and attempted to administer a portable breath test, but the equipment was malfunctioning. Based on the man’s admission and the obvious odor of alcohol, the man was cited for underage drinking while operating a motor vehicle. The man’s aunt arrived at the scene and said that she would get him and the vehicle home.