A young woman was in custody Monday after being accused of driving drunk, triggering a fiery Christmastime crash, refusing to talk to deputies, trying to flee on foot and finally destroying samples of her own blood drawn to determine her blood-alcohol level.
Daniela Montano, 20, of Bermuda Dunes, was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail after her arrest Sunday in Thermal in the eastern part of Riverside County. The arrest was in connection with the crash last Dec. 23 at the intersection of state Route 86 and Avenue 50 in the city of Coachella east of Palm Springs.
At 5:56 that morning, Montano was headed east on Avenue 50 in a silver Honda Accord that crashed into a black Jeep Grand Cherokee traveling north through the intersection on state Route 86, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Olsen.
The Jeep caught fire, but motorists who stopped to help were able to extinguish the flames, Olsen said.
The Jeep’s driver, Jesus Mendez, suffered a broken foot, ankle and finger, according to court documents.
After the fiery crash, according to those documents, Montano refused to tell sheriff’s deputies what happened, and then she turned and ran from the scene.
She was found hiding behind two concrete pillars not far from the crash scene, an arrest warrant declaration states.
Blood samples were taken when Montano was taken to John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio to be checked out. The two vials holding the samples were placed inside an envelope near Montano’s hospital bed, but Montano took the vials and broke them open, according to the declaration.
Prosecutors charged her last month with drunken driving causing injury, hit-and-run and a misdemeanor count of destroying evidence.
She’s being held at the Riverside County jail in Indio, according to jail records.
–City News Service
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