Drunk bicyclist struck by car but unhurt

jsmith@mercedsunstar.comApril 8, 2013 

Merced police officers responded Friday to a traffic accident involving an intoxicated bicyclist.

At 11:56 p.m., officers arrived at the corner of Olive Avenue and M Street and found a bicycle pinned under the front tire of a 2007 Ford Mustang.

The bicyclist, Rudy Ernest Valenzuela, 59, was hit in the intersection by driver Daniel James Ofmer, age unknown, according to police. Ofmer was found to be at fault for failing to yield the right of way to Valenzuela, who claimed to have entered the intersection when the light was green.

But police said Ofmer, who was heading east on Olive Avenue when the accident occurred, had the green light when he struck Valenzuela, who was riding in the crosswalk and heading south on M Street.

Valenzuela freed himself from under the car before the ambulance service arrived, police said, but he sustained moderate injuries to his left leg and was taken to Mercy Medical Center.

At the hospital, Valenzuela submitted to a preliminary alcohol screening and was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.13, police said.

The threshold for driving while intoxicated is 0.08.

Riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol is an infraction, punishable by a fine of $250.

Valenzuela was not booked, but the case is being forwarded to the district attorney, police said.

Ofmer had not been drinking and was not injured, police said.

Merced police are asking anyone with any information about the accident to call the department's tip line at (209) 385-4725.

Reporter Joshua Emerson Smith can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or jsmith@mercedsunstar.com.

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