Mother busted for alleged DUI crash with kids in car

A 26-year-old mother was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and driving under the influence Monday after crashing her 1997 Ford Expedition into a fire hydrant and tree, Merced police reported.

Fortunately, police say the children only suffered minor injuries.

The incident was reported around 6:30 p.m. in the 400 block of East 15th Street. Officers arrived and found the driver, Patricia Sanchez, and four children who were passengers, ranging in age from 4 to 7. Sanchez is the mother of two of the children, and the aunt of the others.

Police believe Sanchez was on B Street heading toward 15th Street when she lost control of her SUV and crashed. Sanchez and the children were taken to Mercy Medical Center Merced. Police said they determined during their investigation Sanchez was under the influence.

Two of the children in Sanchez's vehicle weren't properly restrained, according to Sgt. Jay Struble.

After being released from the hospital, Sanchez was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of DUI causing injury and child endangerment. She's being held in lieu of $150,000 bail. Police are asking anyone with any information about the incident to contact Officer Coe at (209) 385-4732 or the department's automated tip line at (209) 385-4725. All calls are confidential, and you can remain anonymous.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or