Officers make weekend arrests


For The Madera Tribune Madera police officers give a field sobriety test to Santiago Gutierrez, 31, of Madera after they observed him driving erratically Sunday night. Gutierrez was arrested on suspicion of DUI after a breath test indicating he was twice the legal limit for alcohol. He was also charged with driving without a license and for having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.

Police are stepping up their efforts to apprehend drivers that may be distracted or impaired behind the wheel, thanks to applying for and receiving a $85,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety. The grant provides funding for additional officers or additional shifts during prime-time weekend evenings when impaired drivers are more frequently out on the roadways.

Two drivers who were both found to be twice the legal limit for alcohol were arrested Sunday night. Officers said both men were seriously impaired and they were thankful to have stopped them before they caused a serious traffic collision, an injury to other residents, pedestrians or themselves. Santiago Gutierrez, 31, was charged with DUI, driving without a license and having an open container in the vehicle.

In a separate incident Javier Amezola, 24, of Madera was also charged with DUI. Arrest records show one prior arrest for DUI in June of 2019, and a hit and run with property damage in 2018, along with a history of other arrests for burglary and drug sales back to 2016.

Officers said they wanted to remind drivers to always plan ahead.

“If alcohol consumption will be part of your time out, please make a plan. There truly is no excuse to drive impaired. Use a sober or designated driver, call a taxi, or use a driving service. It only takes a moment and the life you save may be your own,” they said.

Motorists are encouraged to report drivers suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol to 911 immediately.

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