OAKHURST — Miles of erratic driving and near misses along Highway 41 between Coarsegold and Fish Camp on Saturday ended with the arrest of a Coarsegold man for driving under the influence of drugs and five other charges.
About 3 p.m. on May 14, CHP received reports of a man weaving in and out of lanes, crossing into opposing traffic and nearly causing several collisions coming north over Deadwood just south of Oakhurst.
The reporting party said that at one point it looked like the man may drive over the cliff coming down into Oakhurst, and though the caller was discouraged from following the suspect vehicle, they stayed on the phone with dispatch and followed the 2003 Volkswagen Jetta all the way to the Tenaya Lodge, calling back to 911 throughout the dropped calls in the canyon.
At one point the caller reported that the driver of the Jetta had clipped a car in the opposing lane, ripping off the rear view mirror.
When the caller told dispatch that the Jetta had pulled into the parking lot at the Tenaya, CHP officers arrived within minutes and found a 25-year-old Coarsegold man still sitting in the vehicle. A couple of Tenaya employees who were walking to the parking lot told officers that the suspect had pulled into the lot “in a rather aggressive manner.”
The driver showed signs of impairment and had drugs on board, according to CHP at the scene. He also admitted to “taking something” earlier in the day.
The driver was placed under arrest for drug DUI, possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and heroin, possession of prescription drugs without a prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license.
The Jetta was impounded and the man was transported to Mariposa and booked into the Mariposa Adult Detention Center.
There were no passengers in the Jetta, and the driver who was reportedly sideswiped and had their rear view mirror broken off never made a report to CHP.