ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - A St. Paul, Minnesota man is charged with driving under the influence for a hit-and-run accident involving a St. Paul Police Department squad car.
On Monday evening, two St. Paul police officers were in a marked squad car at the intersection of Seventh Street and Madison Street. The driver attempted to make a left turn at the stop sign, but was struck by an oncoming Nissan Titan traveling at a high speed.
The truck struck the squad car on the driver’s side, spun and struck another car that was traveling on Seventh Street. The driver of the truck, later identified as Daniel Sanchez Mendes, 25, fled the scene after the crash.
Both police officers were transported to the hospital for treatment. One officer was diagnosed with bruised ribs and the other sustained a perforated eardrum from the impact and airbag deployment.
The officers that responded to the scene found two checkbooks and two traffic citations for a man named David Medina Sanchez, later discovered to be an alias for Mendes. They also found seven empty 16-ounce cans of Coors Light, one with liquid still inside of it, and an empty 12-ounce bottle of Dos Equis on the passenger side of the car.
An anonymous neighbor in the area told police Mendes had come to him after the accident and admitted to causing the crash. The neighbor said Mendes appeared to be drunk and said that almost every time he saw Mendes in the past, he was intoxicated.
Police later saw a man matching the driver’s description walking in the area near the crash. He told officers he was involved in the crash. The man appeared had a strong odor of alcohol, bloodshot, watery eyes and slurred speech. The anonymous neighbor later identified the man as Mendes.
Police arrested Mendes for a DWI. In an interview, Mendes said he thought he was making a turn when he was hit by the police car. He fled the crash because he was scared.
When asked about the empty beer containers in the truck, Mendes said he could not remember if he had been drinking in the truck or just thrown the containers inside. He told police he drinks Coors Light because “it’s watered down and not a strong beer.”
Mendes admitted he had consumed his last beer an hour before the crash.
Mendes’ driver’s license has since been cancelled. He is charged with a DWI.