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Officers say Turlock teen fled scene of crash

A 17-year-old Turlock boy was arrested on three counts of auto theft, leaving the scene of an accident, possession of stolen property and driving under the influence of alcohol following incidents early Wednesday morning in Merced.

Sgt. Alan Ward of the Merced Police Department said the boy was arrested by sheriff's officers. Two other youths are being sought in connection with the thefts.

At 12:59 a.m., Merced Police Officer Peter Villarreal responded to the 1800 block of Cedar Avenue for an accident where a vehicle hit a parked car and the driver and passengers ran from the scene. The vehicle, a 1990 Honda Accord, was stolen from the 1200 block of K Street. A cell phone found in the stolen car was determined to have been left behind by the suspects who ran from the car.

A witness reported seeing two boys and a girl running from the car laughing, but could provide no further details on them.

At 1:49 a.m., Officer Joseph Perez took a report of another stolen car, this time a 1992 Saturn SL, taken from the 2200 block of F Street. The owner of the car reported hearing the doors to his car closing, the engine starting, and his vehicle being driven away.

At 2:37 a.m. Villarreal responded to West 20th Street for yet a third report of a stolen car, a 1988 Toyota Corolla. Sgt. Rick Senteri of the Merced County Sheriff's Department had the teen in custody in the stolen 1988 Corolla.

While conducting his investigation on West 20th Street Villarreal located the stolen Saturn abandoned just a few houses from where the Corolla was taken.

When Senteri stopped the vehicle, the 17-year-old jumped from the car with his hands up, saying that he had just stolen the car and not to shoot him. The boy confessed to stealing the Honda Accord and subsequently wrecking it, because he was drunk and was not good at driving a car with a stick shift. He also confessed to stealing the Toyota Corolla to get back to Turlock but did not admit to the theft of the Saturn, Ward said.

These cases are still under investigation to determine the identities of other suspects who may have been involved, Ward said.

In an unrelated incident, Rodolfo Coronado, 45, was arrested at 11:17 p.m. Tuesday at West Olive Avenue and G Street after the vehicle he was in was stopped for not having a front license plate.

Officers Christopher King and Robert Solis learned Coronado had outstanding warrants for his arrest. On the floorboard of the vehicle where Coronado was sitting officers located a rolled-up T-shirt.

Wrapped inside was a pill bottle containing .3 grams of cocaine.

Ward said Coronado admitted the cocaine was his and said he used the drug to relieve shoulder pain. He was booked into Merced County Jail on charges of possession of cocaine and the outstanding warrants.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209-385-2485 or dyawger@mercedsun-star.com.

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