Report: Man arrested on suspicion of DUI in deadly crash claimed he wasn’t driving

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SHAFTER, Calif. (KGET) — A man who was arrested in May on suspicion of DUI in a rollover crash that killed another occupant of the vehicle denied he was the driver, according to a recently filed court document.

A search warrant filed in connection to the May 31 crash says Miguel Pelayo Jr., 22, was seen by a witness walking away from the damaged Toyota Tacoma. An officer who contacted Pelayo noticed he had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, walked unsteadily and emitted an odor of alcohol.

The officer also noticed signs Pelayo was under the influence of marijuana, the warrant says. He had an elevated heart rate, a green coating on his tongue and dilated pupils.

Pelayo said he wasn’t driving when the Tacoma — which has a manual transmission — veered off Santa Fe Way and rolled over just south of Burbank Street, according to the warrant.

Rene Daniel Chavez, 22, died in the crash.

Investigators later spoke to Pelayo’s father, who told them his son had been using the Tacoma for the past several weeks. He said Pelayo could drive stick, and was driving the truck the afternoon before the crash.

Police also spoke with the father of Chavez. He said his son didn’t know how to drive stick, the warrant says.

A series of field sobriety tests performed by Pelayo indicated he was intoxicated, the warrant says, but a preliminary test indicated his blood-alcohol content was 0.04 percent, below the state legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Pelayo is out of custody and has not been charged with a crime.

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