Merced man facing DUI charges

Police say he crashed his car into a light pole

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comMarch 16, 2013 

A 25-year-old man faces DUI charges after crashing his car into a light pole Thursday in the 1700 block of Grogan Avenue in South Merced, police reported Friday.

The driver, Sou Saetern of Merced, remains hospitalized. His passenger, a 14-year-old male, received minor injuries, according to police.

The incident was reported at 3 a.m.

Officers responding to the scene saw the juvenile, who had head wounds, running from the area. He was detained by police.

Officers went to the car, a blue 2004 Nissan Altima, and found Saetern unconscious in the driver's seat, still wearing his seat belt. Officers reported smelling alcohol on Saetern's breath and coming from the interior of the car.

Police said Saetern was driving east on Grogan Avenue at a high rate of speed when he failed to negotiate a left turn just before Macready Drive.

The Altima spun out of control and hit the light pole on the south side of the street. The rear side of the driver's door hit the pole, causing major damage to the car, police said.

Paramedics removed Saetern from the car, and he was flown to a Modesto hospital, where he remains in stable condition. The juvenile was treated and released to his parents.

Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to call (209) 385-6913, (209) 385-4702 or the department's automated tip line at (209) 385-4725. Tips can also be sent via text message by dialing TIP411 (847411) and including the word COMVIP as the keyword in the text message.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 and

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