Contributed Photo/Courtesy SPD: A Safford Police patrol vehicle was rammed in reverse by a suspected drunk driver early Saturday morning.
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – Sometimes picking out intoxicated drivers is pretty easy; like when a person accidentally backs into a marked police patrol vehicle outside of a bar.
A Safford officer was on patrol early Saturday morning when he noticed a white truck turn eastbound onto 7th Avenue from 7th Street at a high rate of speed. The officer reported that the truck was traveling so far to the middle of the road that he had to pull over near parked vehicles to avoid being struck.
The officer then followed the truck as it went north onto 6th Avenue while failing to signal for the turn. The patrol vehicle was then about 30 to 40 feet behind the suspect when the truck stopped in the middle of the road and began to travel in reverse, according to a police report.
The officer activated his emergency lights and sounded his air horn siren but the truck continued on its trajectory and rammed the officer’s parked patrol vehicle.
Drawing his duty weapon, the officer told the driver, later identified as Alexander David Aranda, 22, of Safford, to stay in the vehicle until other officers arrived. At that point, Aranda allegedly began to reach toward the driver’s side door panel and informed the officer that there was a firearm there. The officer told Aranda not to reach for the gun and he complied. Aranda was recently placed on probation April 2 after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct with a weapon.
While speaking with Aranda, the officer reported smelling an alcoholic beverage on his breath. Aranda denied consuming any alcohol and said he was actually on his way to pick up his cousin because his cousin was drunk, according to the report.
Aranda later allegedly admitted to drinking one beer but he then failed a field sobriety test and his breath/alcohol concentration was recorded at .195.
He was then arrested and had his blood drawn at the Safford Police Department. The blood was sent to the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Crime Lab in Tucson for testing purposes. During this time, the officer also reported Aranda did not have a driver’s license.
Aranda was then released to his mother with charges including DUI and criminal damage pending the blood test results and an estimate regarding the damage to the patrol vehicle.