Crime

Santa Maria hit-and-run driver arrested as hit-and-runs continue to be problem

10 hit-and-runs over last week

Santa Maria hit and run driver...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - A driver was arrested in Santa Maria Thursday afternoon after crashing into a car on a residential street near the intersection of Blosser Road and Pershing Street.

"We were relaxing at home when we heard a giant bang," hit-and-run victim Frank Torres said.

That giant bang was his S-U-V getting slammed into.

"And the whole neighborhood was out there already," Torres said.

Whoever hit his car was nowhere to be seen.

"We didn't even know it was hit and run until we saw the pieces and the kids were all around the car," Torres said.

Police say the man crashed his car into Torres' S-U-V and then drove it to this nearby 7-11, bailed - and took off down Pershing Street. Neighbors noticed him, called police and he was arrested.

"That's great, that's police work," Torres said.

Torres says this isn't the first time someone's crashed into one of his cars and drove off.

"Some of the people who hit us don't have insurance, don't even have an ID," Torres said.

"Many of the times that we investigate these crimes we find out that they're associated with DUI's," Santa Maria Police Lt. Russell Mengel said.

Which was the case with this man, where back at the station, he failed a field sobriety test - and the numbers don't lie - he blew a .25 blood alcohol content which is more than triple the legal limit of .08. He did not have a driver's license.

"What we've seen is that, there's a good number, where anybody can get a driver's license in California, there's a good number that still don't have a license," Mengel said.

You heard that right, as of 2015, anyone in California can get a driver's license - regardless of citizenship.

"And of those that flee the scene, again, a good percentage of them just do it because they don't have a license and are afraid of the consequences," Mengel said.

10 of out of 18 accidents this weekend were hit-and-runs.

"The neighborhood, everyone helped to get this guy and we're happy about that," Torres said. 

Police say that man will likely only face a fine and probation because this wasn't a violent crime. We're also told there were two more hit-and-runs Thursday evening. 


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