Juan Mendoza Mendoza.jpg


A Morganton man was arrested after police say he had one too many, hit a vehicle and left the scene.

Juan Mendoza, 27, of 310 Rockyford Road in Morganton, was arrested on Monday morning for driving while impaired, driving with no operator’s license, failing to reduce speed and hit and run regarding property damage, according to an arrest report from Morganton Department of Public Safety.

Public Safety Officer H. Kania with MDPS responded to Center Street in Morganton to a call from someone reporting their vehicle had been hit and the suspect left the scene. Two witnesses told police they heard the crash and saw a “light-colored vehicle” leave the scene and travel toward Vinearden Road, the report said.

Another officer found a car that matched the description and had damage to the front-end, the report said.

“When officers approached the vehicle, we were able to immediately detect a very strong odor of alcoholic beverages coming from the vehicle,” Kania said in the report. There were several cans of open alcoholic drinks in Mendoza's vehicle, according to the report.

Kania said they found Mendoza inside the house where the vehicle was parked, lying fully clothed on a mattress in one of the rooms. He was lying beside the keys to the suspected vehicle and a 12-pack of beer that was only holding five of the 12 drinks, the report said.

Kania said Mendoza had extremely red and glassy eyes and a strong odor of alcoholic beverages was immediately apparent, according to the report.

“Mendoza was unable to stand without swaying and had to be instructed by officers to step outside several times before he would comply,” Kania wrote in the report.

He eventually told police that he was the owner of the vehicle, that he had “about six or nine beers” and that he had been driving the car, the report said.

Mendoza was arrested and taken to the Burke-Catawba jail. A breathalyzer test showed his blood alcohol level has at .17, according to the MDPS report.

Mendoza was given a court date of Aug. 13 for the charges.

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