Man arrested for drunk driving after leaving crash scene


Jon Johnson File Photo / Gila Herald

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – A man from Safford was arrested on June 19 after allegedly leaving the scene of a collision around 2:38 p.m. in the Thriftee Food & Drug parking lot at 755 S. Central Ave.

Phillip Gonzales Jr., 31, was arrested for drunk driving and left the scene of an accident.

According to a Safford Police report, the crash victim reported Gonzales’ vehicle – a blue Chrysler Sebring – to an officer as Gonzales was exiting the parking lot after hitting his vehicle.

The officer performed a traffic stop on 5th Avenue and noticed that Gonzales may be intoxicated. According to the officer’s report, Gonzales had watery, bloodshot eyes and was blocking his speech. The officer also smelled “a strong odor of intoxicants emitted by the vehicle”.

Gonzales first gave the officer his EBT card, believing it to be his driver’s license, then allegedly admitted to having had a few beers that morning, but reportedly said he had taken a nap since. then. However, a portable breathalyzer later administered to the Safford Police Department indicated that Gonzales’ alcohol and breath concentration was 0.249.

After failing a field field sobriety test, Gonzales was arrested for drunk driving and a blood sample was taken for testing. Gonzales’ vehicle was turned over to a relative, and Gonzales was brought home by police after his blood sample was taken. Possible charges, including leaving the scene of an accident and driving while impaired, are awaiting a blood test and a review by prosecutors.

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