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Alleged DUI Driver With Priors, DUI Driver Who Fled Scene Arrested

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Sonora, CA – CHP officials are sharing details of two DUI-related accidents with injuries.

According to CHP Sonora Unit spokesperson Steve Machado, one of the incidents occurred Saturday night just after 6 o’clock. At that time, 68-year-old John William Birdsong of La Grange was headed south on Highway 49 north of 5th Avenue in Jamestown behind the wheel of a 1990 Nissan Pathfinder at an estimated speed of 50 miles per hour.

At that same time, 27-year-old George Hernandez-Mejia of Pittsburg, Calif. was stopped at the red traffic signal for southbound Highway 49 at 5th Avenue. He was driving a 2013 Chevrolet Express van with six occupants inside.

Officer Machado recounts that due to Birdsong’s unsafe speed with stopped traffic ahead of him, he was unable to stop in time before the front of his vehicle crashed into the rear of the van. After the crash, Birdsong’s vehicle continued traveling off the north shoulder of the highway and down an embankment. Two of the van occupants, 20-year-old Kimberly Mondragon of East Adelanto and 26-year-old Kyi Thomas of Sacramento were transported by ground ambulance to Adventist Health Sonora for treatment of minor injuries.

Birdsong was also transported to Adventist Health Sonora with minor injuries. Suspected of being under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, he was placed under arrest while at the hospital and later booked into Tuolumne County Jail. Among the charges were having a DUI with three or more prior ones, DUI with a blood-alcohol level of .10 or greater, disobeying a court order, and driving on a suspended license for reasons relating to DUI. He received a $30,000 bail.

The second collision occurred Friday night, just before 8 o’clock, Machado reports. He states that 33-year-old Douglas Wishart of Escalon was driving west on Carter Street at Tuolumne Road North in his 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe while at that same time, a 35-year-old female from Sonora was headed south in her 2012 Chevrolet SUV at a speed of approximately 30 miles per hour.

Wishart, who apparently did not see the Chevrolet SUV, proceeded to enter the intersection and crashed his vehicle into the left side of the Chevy, and then afterward fled the scene, heading onto the Black Oak Casino Resort property. The Chevy driver, who suffered minor injuries, was taken to Adventist Health Sonora for treatment.

Machado shares that with the help of Black Oak Casino staff, Wishart, who was uninjured in the collision, was located inside the casino. He was subsequently placed under arrest for suspicion of felony driving under the influence and felony hit and run and booked at the jail. His bail was set at $25,000.