A boyfriend and girlfriend who attended the same Merced party over the weekend crashed into each other while driving home drunk after leaving in separate cars, police said.
Cheng Saeturn, 29, suffered a broken collarbone just before 1 a.m. Sunday when her boyfriend, Steven P. Murrieta, ran a stop sign at Childs Avenue and S Street and struck her car, according to the Merced Police Department.
The couple had been drinking at the same house party in Merced, police said, and both left the party about 12:50 a.m. to return to their West First Street home in different cars.
The exact location of the party was unclear, Capt. Tom Trindad said.
Shortly after the crash, Murrieta, 30, drove away and crashed through a fence on S Street, Trindad said in a news release.
At some point, he drove through a nearby city park, taking out a barbecue grill, police said. It was unclear if he drove through the park before or after hitting his girlfriend’s car.
He slammed his vehicle into the wall of an apartment complex, then ran away on foot, abandoning the vehicle, police said.
A damage estimate was not available Monday.
A California Highway Patrol officer spotted Murrieta shortly afterward and took him into custody.
According to a police report, Murrieta’s blood-alcohol level was measured at nearly five times the state’s .08 legal limit.
Saeturn was cited for misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol and released to Mercy Medical Center for treatment. She was not booked at jail because of her injury, Trindad said.
Murrieta was taken to the hospital for an examination. He was not injured in the crashes.
He was booked at the Merced County Jail on suspicion of DUI causing injury and hit and run, both felonies.
He was also booked on charges from a prior case earlier this year after failing to appear in court May 22 to answer to charges of driving on a suspended license and failing to properly secure a child under the age of 8 in a safety seat, according to Merced Superior Court records.
Court records show Murrieta was charged with driving under the influence in 2008, but the outcome of that case could not be confirmed Monday.
Jail records show Murrieta was still in custody Monday afternoon with bail set at more than $227,000.
Anyone with any information regarding this incident should contact Officer Nathaniel McKinnon at (209) 388-7753, or the Merced Police Department Tipster Line at (209) 385-4725. Information can be via anonymous text messages to the department by dialing TIP411 (847411) and including the word “ComVIP” as the keyword. Staff writer Rob Parsons can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or email@example.com.