Austin man accused of DUI, leading officers on pursuit that ended in a fiery crash
(ABC 6 News) – An Austin man has been arrested after police said he led officers on a pursuit while driving under the influence that ended in a fiery crash.
Police said around 3:20 a.m. on Sunday an officer tried to stop a White Chevy Silverado in the 500 block of West Oakland Ave for multiple traffic violations. The APD said the driver did not stop once the officer initiated their lights and sirens.
The driver then led the officer on a pursuit where speeds reached above 70 miles per hour. Because of the "erratic driving" and high speeds, the officer ended the pursuit. The driver continued to speed away from the officer.
Police said the driver, 23-year-old Melchor Barnabas, lost control of the pickup near the 1600 block of West Oakland Ave and appeared to go into the south ditch near Banfield Elementary School but the driver overcorrected and went into the north ditch where he hit a tree.
Police said the truck "erupted" into flames. Officers on scene did not see the driver inside and searched the area in case he had been ejected. Once the flames subsided officers opened the driver’s door and located Barnabas facedown under the passenger side dashboard.
He was removed from the still-burning truck and taken to the hospital.
The APD said Barnabas appeared to be impaired by alcohol so a blood draw was done. Barnabas was released from the hospital and officers went to his home where he was taken into custody.
Possible charges for Barnabas were not provided Monday afternoon.
Police said this was "one of seven suspected driving under the influence cases the department handled in a roughly 29-hour period from 11 p.m. on Friday to 3:20 a.m. Sunday morning.