A 35-year-old man accused of a hit-and-run crash that injured an off-duty Merced police officer and his wife was taken into custody Wednesday by Merced County sheriff's deputies in Modesto.
Deputies with the department's STAR Team tracked Luis Antonio Benitez to a motel room in the 1200 block of Ringbarking Avenue, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's spokesman.
Benitez was found in the motel room with two women. After failing to comply with orders by deputies, he was shot with a Taser and taken into custody. MacKenzie said the suspect was in Modesto because he knew law enforcement authorities in Merced County were looking for him.
Merced police believe Benitez is responsible for an Aug. 5 crash reported on North Highway 59 near Cooper Avenue. Merced Police Lt. Tom Trindad was traveling with his wife, Gilda, on a motorcycle when the couple was rear-ended. Both were sent to the hospital with injuries, but have since been released.
Police say Benitez fled the scene in a light brown 2000 Dodge SUV. He was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of felony hit-and-run. He's being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.