COARSEGOLD — An accident on Road 415 today ended with the driver leaving the scene in search of a cell signal, his dog left alone in the vehicle, and a charge of DUI.
At about 4 p.m. on Monday, Mar. 7, Warren Michael Smith, 25, of Oakhurst, was westbound on Road 415 in a Chevy SUV, headed through the tight curves near Sesame Street.
According to CHP, he was going too fast for conditions and lost control, rolled over twice and came to rest in the ditch about 20 feet off the road, facing the opposite direction. A witness said the driver was shaken up, but got out of the vehicle and immediately pulled out his cell phone and made a call.
Unable to get a cell signal, Smith was picked up by a passer-by in a white Cadillac, who drove him down to the intersection of Roads 400 and 415.
“He left his dog behind and it jumped out,” said another witness who came upon the scene. “It was very scared, and went to the driver’s door looking for the owner. I tried to catch it but ran up the hill.”
CHP located the driver and the stranger who had offered him a ride parked just west of where the crash happened. Officers then learned that Smith had a suspended license, a prior DUI charge, and a Failure to Appear on that case.
Smith tried to tell officers that someone else was driving, but with witnesses who saw the whole thing happen, he finally admitted that he was behind the wheel.
After conducting a DUI evaluation, officers placed Smith under arrest for DUI and transported him to the Madera County jail. The dog was released to the custody of Smith’s wife.
Traffic was backed up for a short time as the vehicle was hauled back up on the roadway.