Teen Charged in Deadly DUI Accident

In 1984, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act sought to push the legal drinking age from 18 to 21.  For states that did not comply, the act reduced their annual federal highway apportionment by ten percent.  Quickly, all 50 states fell into line, raising the drinking age to 21.  This still has not kept alcohol out of the hands of teenagers, and the consequences have, at times, been tragic.

A person has been arrested after a deadly wrong-way accident that killed an Alabama wife and mother.

Late Monday afternoon, authorities announced that 19-year-old Pedro Ivan Rico Mendoza had been arrested and had charges pending.  He is charged with one count of reckless murder, two counts of first-degree assault, and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.

Crystal Lavonne Ponder, 34, lost her life in the crash which occurred at 3:45 a.m. on I-65 southbound between Alford Avenue and Montgomery Highway.   Her husband, who was also in the vehicle, suffered minor injuries.  Also in the car was the couple’s son, 7, who was seriously injured and remains hospitalized.

Mendoza had been driving a silver Chevrolet Cruze northbound in the southbound lanes and struck the Ponder’s Honda Accord, which was then struck by another black Cruze.  Mendoza then fled the scene on foot.

Ponder was pronounced dead at the scene.  The driver and passenger of the black Cruze were taken to a local hospital with injuries.  

Mendoza was apprehended by police after police dogs tracked him to Alford Avenue, where he was walking.  He denied being the driver of the vehicle, but officers report that he showed signs of having been involved in an accident.

Authorities believe that Mendoza was under the influence of alcohol.  He has a previous arrest in September of 2015 for possession of methamphetamine.  That case has yet to be tried.  His bond was set at $100,000.  

If you have been charged with DUI, you will want experienced legal assistance on your side.  Our attorneys specialize in the defense of DUI charges.  Contact us today.


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