Crime

Atwater man accused of DUI after three-car crash on Highway 99, CHP says

A 36-year-old Atwater man was arrested Wednesday after allegedly driving under the influence, and then fleeing the scene of an injury crash, according to California Highway Patrol.

Suspect Juan Carlos Cabeza was involved in a three-vehicle collision at about 8:15 p.m. in the northbound lanes of Highway 99 just south of R Street, according to CHP Officer Eric Zuniga.

As northbound traffic slowed for a construction zone, Cabeza, driving a 2005 Chevrolet 2500 pickup, allegedly rear-ended a 2014 Ford Focus driven by Samuel Jessie Tovaz, 20, of Los Gatos.

The Focus then struck a 2016 Toyota 4Runner driven by Sergey Khripunov, 45, of Conroe, Texas.

Cabeza allegedly fled the scene, and an “Be On the Lookout” alert for his whereabouts was issued by law enforcement.

Meanwhile, Tovaz was taken to Memorial Medical Center by Riggs Ambulance for complaint of pain and lacerations. Khripunov complained of pain, but refused medical treatment at the scene.

The suspect was arrested after Merced police located him and the vehicle in the area of T and 2nd streets.

Cabeza is being held at the Merced County Jail on suspicion of felony DUI and felony hit-and run resulting in injury.

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