A Department of Public Safety patrol car was struck by a drunk driver heading the wrong way on a major highway. Around 2:00 Wednesday morning Officer James Waltermire noticed headlights coming toward him on Loop 101 in Glendale. He activated his emergency lights and siren and began a zigzagging motion to get cars behind him to stop or slow down. The on-coming Ford pick-up truck hit the driver’s side of the DPS car, and despite causing extensive damage to both vehicles, continued driving for about 100 yards before coming to a stop. The truck even lost a tire during the wreck, which bounced into a Suburban. No one was injured in any of the involved vehicles.
The driver of the pick-up jumped out of his wrecked vehicle and fled on foot. Michael Chicharello was apprehended shortly after and officers initiated a drunk driving investigation. A preliminary breath test showed that Chicharello had a blood alcohol content of 0.252%, more than three times the legal limit for intoxication in Arizona.
Chicharello, 31, was booked for driving under the influence in Arizona, aggravated assault, endangerment, criminal damage and leaving the scene of an accident. Officer Waltermire, a five year veteran with the DPS, was roundly praised by the department spokesperson, saying his actions probably saved someone’s life.
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