Police car struck by drunk driver as officer at previous DWI crash call


CLEARWATER, FL – Clearwater police officers had their hands full with drunk drivers last night.  Police reported three drunk drivers were charged overnight after a series of crashes.  At one crash site, a Clearwater officer’s vehicle was struck by another drunk driver, making for an easy catch.

The Clearwater Police Department reported:

Clearwater Police officers arrested three drivers early this morning on DUI and other charges after a series of crashes on the Courtney Campbell Causeway that started with a wrong-way driver.

Just after midnight, multiple 911 callers reported a car going eastbound in the westbound lanes of the causeway. After one crash, the driver and passenger of the wrong-way vehicle switched positions and the car continued the correct way in the westbound lanes of the causeway. It turns out that both drivers were impaired.

Officers who were in the area conducting directed patrols for DUI enforcement were able to stop the car nearby on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard.

In the meantime, a Clearwater Police officer who had responded to one of the related crashes was assisting that driver when his patrol vehicle was struck by another drunken driver. The officer was not injured but his vehicle sustained serious damage.

The occupants of the wrong-way vehicle were identified as Juan Caraballo Guerrero (DOB 3-1-1998) of Tampa and Veronica Tejada (DOB 3-17-1990) of Spring Hill. Caraballo Guerrero, the initial driver, was charged with DUI with property damage, aggravated battery, leaving the scene of a crash and possession of marijuana. Tejada was charged with DUI and possession of marijuana.

The driver who crashed into the police vehicle was Maria Perdomo (DOB 4-24-1987) of Palm Harbor. She was charged with DUI.

All three were booked in to the Pinellas County Jail.

As part of spring break, Clearwater Police officers have been conducting enhanced DUI enforcement on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, Memorial Causeway and other Clearwater roads. That effort will continue for the next few weeks.

“In today’s era of ride shares and designated drivers and other alternatives, there is no excuse to get behind the wheel of a car if you have been drinking,” said Police Chief Dan Slaughter.

No injuries were reported in any of the crashes.

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