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DUI sweep picks up 20 in Manteca
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Manteca officer Kirk Doty is seen arresting Thomas Michael Obrien, Jr. in the 800 block of Marion Street shortly before noon on Wednesday in the OTS state funded AVOID the 10 DUI warrant sweep. - photo by GLENN KAHL
A state Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) grant made it possible for some 20 Manteca officers – regulars and reserves – to sweep the city Wednesday for drunken driving offenders who had failed to report to court or to jail on their charges or convictions.

The AVOID the 10 operation netted 20 arrests out of 107 warrant service attempts at homes and businesses from north Manteca neighborhoods to Oakwood Lake and into Ripon.  The sweep by the Manteca officers was made possible through the state grant and no Manteca funds were used in the sweep.

There were five teams of officers who set out to contact DUI offenders in the community at about 9:30 in the morning continuing to knock on doors until about 2:30 in the afternoon.  In many cases they found no one at home or were told that the person they were looking for was not at the residence.

Seven of the warrant arrests were for failure to report to jail as ordered, for parole holds and for no bail warrants.  Those men and women were transported to the San Joaquin County Jail.  The remaining 13 were booked, written citations to appear in court and later released from custody.

Lt. Nick Obligacion explained, “The whole reason for doing this sweep is protecting the 60,000-plus people in the community.”  Officers reasoned that the most likely individuals to drink and drive over the Christmas holiday would be those who had already demonstrated their willingness to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Some will spend Christmas in jail
At least half a dozen of those arrested will spend their Christmas in jail, officers said.  Some of the offenders were also charged with driving on suspended licenses.  Despite the shock of meeting a team of arresting officers at their front doors, most reacted in a cordial manner,  albeit upset that it’s Christmas time, officers noted.

Traffic motorcycle officer David Bright said he arrested 27-year-old Maria Bettencourt hiding at the bottom of her closet at her mother’s home on Sequoia Street.  The officer said the mother invited him into the house to prove her daughter wasn’t in the house – saying she had gone to San Jose.  The woman was transported to county jail where officers said she had failed earlier to report after her DUI conviction.

Those charged with failing to report to jail as ordered now have to go back before the judge and explain why they didn’t show up for their incarceration as ordered upon their convictions.

Another officer, Richard Smigelski, who went to a home in the 800 block of El Dorado Street looking for Marjeanne Ethridge, 43, said he was told by her husband that she was at work at a restaurant in Ripon.  Officers called Ripon police and asked them to detain the woman until they could get there.  She was arrested at work and later released on a citation to again appear in court.

Police went to the home of Jane Fuller, 62, who they found in bed with a broken foot.  She was given a citation in her home to appear in court for previously failing to appear before a judge on a DUI related charge.

One man glad he was finally arrested
Patrolman Brian Holland said when he arrested one man Wednesday morning, he was told that he was tired of running – glad he had been arrested, glad the running was over.

On one warrant service on Locust Avenue officers determined the man they wanted had already been jailed in Carson City, NV, on a similar charge.

Norman S. Graft, 46, had just gotten out of the shower at his residence in the 700 block of Button Avenue when a team of officers knocked.   Police said he was upset because he was on the way to work at his carpentry job.  He was later cited at the police department and later released as well.

Another woman who was reportedly on her way out of town – about to take a train to Martinez – was away from her residence in the 800 block of Sapphire Way. Officers trailed her to a residence in the 1200 block of Crom Street where they found her hiding in an apartment.

Those Mantecans jailed in the warrant search included, Francisco Delgado, 34, Joseph Eggert, 36, parole hold; Hugo Rodriguez, 28, Lester Dias, 24, with three warrants; Melinda Duran, 27, and Maria Bettencourt, 30.

Others who officers cited and released at the city jail with orders to report to the court included, Michael Castilleja, 42, George Lopez, 50, Jane Fuller, 62, Norman Grant, 46, Judith Goldman, 70, Aisha Brisker, 30, Thomas Obrien, Jr., 42, Marjeanne Ethridge, 43, Richard Paul, 25, Chris Quillin, 42, two warrants; Daniel Contrerras, 30, and Gracie Aguilar, 54.