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RV driver charged with hit & run
Manteca firefighters dig to find the shut-off valve for the fire hydrant that was sheared of by a mobile home on Button Avenue Thursday afternoon. - photo by HIME ROMERO
The driver of a motor home that took out mail boxes and a fire hydrant in the 100 block of Button Avenue at 5:15 Thursday before rear ending a car at Cottage and Button avenues told Manteca Police officers he had been hijacked.

He claimed the hijackers had gotten out of the vehicle two blocks before he collided with the mail boxes and the hydrant about a block north of East Yosemite Avenue.

Witnesses said the motor home continued on about a mile northward on Button Avenue leaving a geyser of water shooting skyward and the door and the screen door of the vehicle stripped away at the scene.  The entire lower right front side of the motor home was left at the point of impact. The right front wheel was damaged slanting inward and the tire was blown out.

Gregory Maires, 48, of Tracy got out of his 1978 motor home after it crashed into the rear of another vehicle at the Cottage Avenue boulevard stop, looked at the damage and ran away behind nearby apartments witnesses said.  They pointed out his direction of travel to the arriving traffic officers.

Motorcycle officer John Machado arrived on the scene with patrolman David Bright.  Machado rode down a dirt road behind a church next to the apartments and spotted Maires sitting in the corner of a fence holding up a newspaper, apparently attempting to disguise himself.

After Maires allegedly crashed into the fire hydrant and the cluster of mail boxes in a planter at the edge of the roadway, water flooded the wide driveway and between commercial buildings in the small nearby light industrial complex. City workers had difficulty in shutting off the hydrant because they couldn’t locate the valve.

Maires was charged with two counts of misdemeanor hit and run, one count of DUI and a second enhanced DUI charge for driving with an alcohol level over .08, police said.

He was taken to the Manteca city jail where he was kept until he sobered up, officers said, and then released on citations. His motor home was towed by police. Officers could find no evidence of a hijacking. Witness told officers when they saw Maires driving that he was visibly alone in the motor home.