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15 cars towed from DUI checkpoint
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It was a busy night Saturday for Manteca police at their State Office of Traffic Safety sponsored DUI checkpoint on Yosemite Avenue, east of Powers Avenue. Lt. Nick Obligacion checks the license of one driver in what became a steady line of cars in the coned eastbound lanes. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Four officers, one supervisor and cadets from the Manteca Police Explorers conducted a busy DUI check point Saturday night on Yosemite Avenue just east of Powers Avenue from 7 p.m. until midnight.

The California State Office of Traffic Safety provided the grant funding for the “low level” event.

A Manteca Police pursuit of a Manteca motorist attempting to elude patrolmen sent the checkpoint crew scattering to the south sidewalk shortly before 11:30 p.m. as the fleeing motorist and three pursuing patrol units passed by their orange-coned location at a high rate of speed after having already been behind the vehicle for some six to seven miles – later learning the man had three no bail felony warrants for his arrest involving fraud and forgery.

Police radios at the checkpoint crackled with transmissions coming from the lead car to the dispatcher from the onset of the chase at Yosemite Avenue and Commerce Drive until it ended with the suspect crashing in a residential neighborhood some 10 minutes later.

The oncoming flashing red and blue lights could be seen coming from Pestana and Yosemite avenues headed right for the check point.   The fleeing driver narrowly missed an eastbound motorist who was making a left hand turn at Powers Avenue – possibly attempting to detour around the checkpoint.

As the checkpoint officers watched, the pursuit headed on west to Grant Avenue – where one patrol unit crashed into the side of the fleeing car – they could see the three police cars then turn north and continuing the pursuit.    

Nearly 500 vehicles passed through the checkpoint and five drivers were put through field sobriety tests.  Fifteen vehicles were towed and stored after police determined the drivers either had no driver’s license or theirs had been suspended for cause.  

Police motorcycles were strategically stationed outside the traffic stop where they kept an eye on motorists who might detour around the checkpoint rather than opting to be checked for a driver’s license or for drinking and driving.

Motor officer David Bright and Patrick Danipour made 14 traffic stops and issued seven citations with one vehicle being impounded.  Five motorists were given field sobriety tests at curbside, police reported.

Manteca patrolman Bryan Holland noted that several people had told him how they appreciated the department’s effort to locate drunken drivers despite the cutback in the numbers of officers working in Manteca.  He added that most people were congenial and no one seemed too upset that their cars were being impounded for 30 days.

The police cadets supporting the uniformed officers at the check point were Travis Johnson, Harjit Cheema and Nat Reed.  They were kept busy filling out informational 180 forms required in the towing of vehicles by police.  Animal control officer Les Rowe posted the number of cars going through the checkpoint as well as noting how many were towed and what citations issued.

The teenaged cadets also aided in setting out the cones on the roadway and setting up and tearing down the operation.   It was believed to be the first live pursuit they had witnessed speed by them while assisting officers in the field.    

The fleeing motorist, Jose Alberto Calouro, 33, was charged with two felonies and three misdemeanors after the pursuit.  The first felony was for alleged disregard for public safety in evading a police officer – the second yet to be determined at county jail.

Misdemeanors included resisting arrest and battery on a peace officer as well as driving on a suspended license.

The three no bail felony warrants he had outstanding included taking a vehicle without permission and receiving known stolen property – the latter being dismissed “in the furtherance of Justice.”

The second warrant was for felony auto burglary.   Additional charges of receiving known stolen property ,  tampering with a vehicle, resisting arrest, and possession of burglary tools had all been dismissed in the furtherance of justice.

The third no bail warrant was for past convictions – one felony and one misdemeanor. The felony was for forgery and the misdemeanor for resisting arrest.  Neither charge had been dismissed, according to the sheriff’s custody log.

Calouro’s court date is scheduled November 16 in Department Z of the Stockton Branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court in Stockton.  He is being held in custody at the San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp.