California takes the offense of driving under the influence very seriously. They take the charge even more seriously when minors are put into harms way by being in the vehicle with a driver who is intoxicated. This can go a few ways, as far as prosecution goes. The prosecutor can add an enhancement charge of DUI with a minor or the prosecutor can charge a separate charge of child endangerment. If convicted, the person faces the penalties for both charges. This can also open a case with Child Protective Services.
The Union Democrat reports on a suspected DUI driver who led police on a 20-mile chase with two minors in the vehicle.
Last Friday morning, 28-year-old Jose Miguel Lopez led police on a 20-mile chase through Tuolumne County. At times, he accelerated to speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.
At about 2:30 a.m., police received reports of a white 2011 Chevrolet Camaro driving recklessly on Highway 108 near Yosemite Junction. Ten minutes after that report, the vehicle was seen near Fifth Avenue in Jamestown, speeding towards Highway 108 heading east.
When California Highway Patrol officers attempted to pull the driver over, the driver sped up to high speeds. Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputies joined in the chase, witnessing the driver cross over the double yellow lines multiple times.
The pursuit continued to Long Barn Road in Long Barn, California, where the driver suddenly decelerated to 40 m.p.h. and pulled over onto the shoulder, stopping completely.
Authorities say that the vehicle is believed to have run out of gas.
Lopez was booked on charges of felony evading, child endangerment, misdemeanor DUI, and driving on a suspended license. Lopez had two of his 15-year-old nephews in the vehicle with him. They were not hurt.