Crime

Driver arrested day after fleeing crash scene with child in car, police say

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Be prepared when you hit the road. Here are some quick tips on what to do if you are in a car accident.

A Merced woman was arrested one day after she fled the scene of a crash, authorities said.

Atwater police said 25-year-old A’zhia Gardiner was arrested by detectives at her home Thursday after she contacted the Atwater Police Department about turning herself in, according to Police Chief Michael Salvador.

Police said Gardiner was involved in a minor rear-end collision at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 1500 block of Atwater Boulevard. An officer who observed the collision checked on the drivers for possible injuries and found the driver who caused the crash did not have a driver’s license, according to a news release.

The driver fled the scene of the collision with her 5-year-old girl in the rear seat, authorities said. The officer chased after the driver. As the fleeing driver entered northbound Highway 99, the officer terminated the pursuit, due to what police described as the driver’s disregard for other motorists and the child inside the vehicle.

But police already had the woman’s identification card and information.

Authorities said no officers were available to locate the woman Wednesday. She was arrested at her home by detectives the following day. The child is currently with relatives, police said.

She was later booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of reckless evasion of a peace officer, felony child endangerment and operating a motor vehicle without a drivers license, according to authorities.

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