April 3, 2013

Suspect arrested after hit-and-run crash with bicyclist in Merced

A suspected drunken driver was arrested Wednesday after police say he hit a bicyclist and fled from the scene.

Police responded about 1 p.m. to the 2200 block of U Street and arrested 26-year-old Aaron Charles, according to Lt. Matt Williams of the Merced Police Department.

Williams said Charles was traveling southbound on U Street when he hit the bicyclist.

Charles fled the scene, but was chased down by another driver, according to Williams. Witnesses told police they saw Charles' blue Saab traveling at a high rate of speed down 23rd Street.

Possibly after noticing that he was being followed, Charles eventually turned around near Main and U streets and went back to the scene of the accident, according to Williams.

When officers made contact with Charles, they noticed signs of intoxication, according to Williams. Charles was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of driving under the influence resulting in injury, felony hit and run, and speeding.

The bicyclist was taken to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto and is in critical condition, according to Williams. The identity of the bicyclist is being withheld pending notification of his family members.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Merced Police Department's detectives' division at (209) 385-4702 or the tip line at (209) 385-4725. Citizens can also text tips to TIP411 (847411) and using the word "comvip" as the keyword in the text message.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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