DWI Crash Brings Awareness to No-Refusal Holiday Weekend
By Office of Communication
Posted on May 24, 2012, May 24, 2012

As some prepare to enjoy the upcoming holiday weekend, Arlington Police Officers plan for a "no refusal" weekend and the effort to get intoxicated drivers off the road. Between Friday, May 25, and Monday, May 28, any person stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated and refuses to provide a breath specimen, officers will seek a search warrant to obtain a blood sample.

Traffic crashes continue to be the leading cause of death in Texas. However, traffic fatalities can be avoided. The Arlington Police Department encourages people not to allow friends to get behind the wheel after drinking, and call 911 to report reckless driving and possible drunk drivers.

One example of a DWI crash that had the potential to be deadly occurred early yesterday morning. An Arlington resident spotted a vehicle speeding eastbound on Park Row heading toward Collins Street on Wednesday, May 23, at about 12:30 a.m., according to police reports. Shortly afterward, there was a report of a loud crash. Officers arrived at the crash, which occurred in the 1400 block of Kelly Terrace, and discovered that the driver of a Cadillac SUV had crashed into a house. The driver, later identified as Claudia Melendez, also had her two children - 10-year-old and 1-year-old boys - with her in the SUV.

While talking with officers at the scene, Melendez, 34 of Arlington, exhibited signs of being intoxicated with slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, stumbling while walking and an odor of alcohol from her breath. Investigators are looking at the possibility that Melendez had been drinking alcohol and used an illegal narcotic before getting behind the wheel of the SUV. While speaking with officers, Melendez admitted to recently drinking multiple beers and ingesting cocaine.

"Younger kids are generally not able to tell if their parents are intoxicated. Regardless, children do not have a choice in who they ride with, especially when the driver is their parent," said Arlington Police DWI Officer Stacie Brown.

Melendez was treated at Medical Center of Arlington for minor injuries and provided a blood alcohol sample. Afterward, she was arrested for intoxication assault with a vehicle and two counts of child abandonment/endangerment. Melendez remains in the Arlington City Jail with bail set at $8,000. Child Protective Services was contacted because of the nature of the injuries to the children, none of which appear to have been life threatening. After being treated at Cooks Children's Hospital in Fort Worth, the boys were released to the care of a family member.

Although this incident remains under investigation, there is no doubt that the lives of the driver, two boys and owner of the damaged home have been dramatically changed by this crash. This time no one died. It takes us all doing our part to prevent crashes caused by intoxicated drivers.

"Anytime someone takes the risk of driving while intoxicated, they not only endanger their own lives, but the lives of others in the car with them and on the roadway," Officer Brown said. "There is no drink or drug that is worth the sort of hazard intoxicated drivers create."
 Holiday Weekend

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