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Wrong-Way DUI Driver Accused of Accident that Killed Officer

An Arizona driver who allegedly caused a head-on collision in the Phoenix area on May 11 apparently had a blood alcohol content level that approached three times the legal limit. The driver, age 42, is accused of DUI in connection with the accident, which occurred after he reportedly drove a whopping 35 miles on the wrong side of the road, traveling on three freeways before he was apprehended. The head-on collision killed a police officer who was a 13-year veteran of the force.

Officers say the victim was driving home from work when he died. Other police officers had been working to contain the alleged drunk driver, but he was able to evade them. Further, his family members say they attempted to prevent their relative from driving, but he obtained a spare set of car keys and left their company.

Family members have confirmed that the man was drinking alcohol before the crash. A Breathalyzer test showed that the man's blood alcohol level measured at 0.238 percent. That value is significantly higher than the legal limit for being considered intoxicated in the state of Arizona.

Authorities say the defendant has not yet been officially charged, but he does have a criminal record dating back to 1994. The man pleaded guilty to a criminal conspiracy charge in Colorado that year; details about that case were not immediately available. Further, immigration authorities report that the defendant is a Mexican national who came to the U.S. without legal permission.

It is not yet clear whether that will have a bearing on his case. Criminal defendants who are also facing immigration action could have special needs in criminal court. This man is potentially facing other serious charges because someone died in a crash he allegedly caused.

Source: ABC News, "Wrong-Way Driver in Arizona Crash Was Drunk" No author given, May. 16, 2014

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