ST. PAUL, Minn. - A man with three prior alcohol-related driving incidents is now charged in a fourth, after being arrested for crashing into a St. Paul Police squad car.
Daniel Sanchez Mendes is charged with felony level DWI in connection with the October 10 incident, which left two St. Paul Police officers injured.
The criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County says the officers were sitting at a stop sign at the intersection of Madison and 7th Streets when one saw a Nissan Titan pickup approaching at a high rate of speed. As the driver of the squad car began to turn his partner yelled "this guy's not stopping!", and a moment later the pickup struck them. One of the officers say a Hispanic male wearing an orange shirt and shorts fleeing the scene on foot.
Both officers were taken to the hospital for treatment, one with bruised ribs and the other with a perforated eardrum.
Investigators found two checkbooks and two traffic citations with the name David Sanchez on them. They also located seven empty cans of Coors Light and and eight that was still partially full and cold to the touch.
Police were contacted by a resident on the 1300 block of Maynard who told them an old neighbor named Daniel jumped into his car. The man said Daniel appeared to be drunk, with slurred speed and bloodshot eyes. The man asked Daniel if he was involved in an accident, and Daniel allegedly told them he thought he had caused the accident. Daniel then got out of the car and stumbled away.
Officers later saw a man matching the pickup driver's description, stumbling in the area near the crash with scrapes on his legs. He smelled strongly of alcohol and had slurred speech and watery eyes. The resident who had called police identified the man as Daniel, the person who had jumped into his car and claimed to have caused an accident.
The suspect, originally identified as David Medina Sanchez, was arrested for DWI. He told police that he ran because he was scared, and feared he would be deported as he was in the U.S. illegally. A check revealed there is no photo of a David Sanchez in the state database, and no violations or license withdrawals.
An investigator later learned that the suspect's true name was Daniel Sanchez Mendes, and that he had three previous alcohol related incidents on his record in the previous 10 years.