LaGrange Police have arrested a habitual drunk driver on several charges after he fled from an auto accident and later had the audacity to claim someone else had been driving.
Sunday afternoon about 2:58 p.m., officers with the LaGrange Police Department responded to a Hit & Run accident.
While en route, officers were advised that the collision occurred on Ridley Avenue and the victim followed the Hit & Run suspect to Cox Street after the vehicle failed to stop for the accident.
Police first made contact with the complainant, who stated that the driver of a yellow Nissan Xterra with an Alabama tag struck her vehicle and fled the scene. She stated she then followed the vehicle to Cox Street where the male driver stumbled out of the vehicle and into an apartment.
The victim explained that she was traveling south on Ridley near Easy Street when the yellow Nissan failed to maintain its lane of travel and collided with the rear of her vehicle near the taillight.
Officers then relocated to Cox Street and found the yellow Nissan, which had apparent paint transfer from the victim’s vehicle.
Police then made contact with the alleged driver, IsmaelSalesGomez, whoclaimed he had not been driving and that his brother had been driving the vehicle.
Gomez was found wearing the exact same clothing as described by the victim and he had the keys to the Nissan in his pocket. The brother that he claimed to have been driving the vehicle was also nowhere to be found.
Police say that Gomez had a strong odor of alcohol on hisbreath,soofficersasked him if he had been drinking and he admitted to having consumed about 10 beers earlier in the day.
Officers weren’t buying Gomez’s story and reminded him that several people reported seeing him exiting the Nissan, which was also registered to him.
Gomez was later determined to be unlicensed and police records show he had been stopped multiple times driving the same vehicle.
Police attempted to get Gomez to perform some sobriety tests, but he claimed he didn’t understand and refused to participate. Officers were, however, able to get Gomez to submit to a portable breath test, which came back with a result of .175 BAC, more than twice the legal limit. Gomez was then placed under arrest and taken into custody.
The victim later positively identified Gomez and stated she was certain he was the driver of vehicle that struck her and fled the scene.
As a result, Gomez, age 40, was arrested and transported to the Troup County Sheriff’s Office where he refused a state administered breath test. Gomez was then booked into the jail charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol – Less Safe, Hit & Run, Failure to Maintain Lane, Driving without a License, and No Insurance.
As of press time, Gomez is being held at the Troup County Jail on $10,000 bond.