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Affidavit: Drunk driver involved in wreck said ‘stranger’ was driving his SUV

The El Paso man accused of driving drunk, crashing into a Jeep and running away from the scene of the wreck told police a “stranger” was driving his SUV and all he remembered was “being hit,” a criminal complaint obtained by ABC-7 states.

Police charged Jesus Ponce, 31, with Intoxicated Assault. The wreck happened on Friday, December 7, 2018 shortly after 8 p.m. on the 2100 block of Montwood.

Police said the victim, identified in court documents as 51-year-old Jose Vasquez, said his Jeep broke down. Vasquez said he turned on his vehicle’s emergency lights and lifted the hood while he tried to restart his Jeep. Vasquez “was in and out of his vehicle attempting to get it started again and only remembers waking up on the ground in severe pain,” the criminal complaint states. The court document further states Vasquez suffered a pelvic fracture and internal bleeding – “life threatening injuries that required immediate surgery.”

Police accuse Ponce of crashing his Nissan Armada into Vasquez’s Jeep, causing Vasquez to be thrown from the Jeep. A driver who witnessed the aftermath of the wreck told police he saw Ponce in the driver’s side seat of the Nissan Armada, looking for something inside the vehicle. Ponce, the witness claimed, then exited the Nissan Armada and ran away from the scene of the wreck, the criminal complaint states.

The court document states Ponce later returned to the scene of the wreck and told police he is the owner of the Armada, but a “stranger” was the one driving the SUV. Ponce allegedly told the officers at the scene, that after he got out of work that evening, he drank a beer at the Pockets bar in West El Paso, two beers at Coconuts in Central El Paso and two shots and a beer at Zocalo in East Central.

Ponce told police he did not want to drive and a “stranger offered to drive him home.” The plan was to order an Uber ride for the stranger once they arrived at Ponce’s home. Ponce “stated they stopped at a Whataburger to order food, and as they were driving home, all he remembers is being hit.” Ponce said the stranger driving his SUV told him to get out of the vehicle and walk around so Ponce “could throw up.”

Ponce, the document states, told police he could not drive because he had a suspended driver’s license and he had not driven in “forever.” When the officer asked Ponce how he got to work that day, Ponce allegedly said he drove the Armada to work.

Police told Ponce that a witness identified him as the driver of the Armada after it collided with the Jeep, but Ponce remained adamant he was not driving the Armada when it collided with the Jeep. When the officer asked Ponce about the injury to his nose, Ponce said he “had a bad habit of not wearing his seatbelt.”

Ponce allegedly refused to perform a field sobriety test because he was not the driver of the Armada, police said. Police arrested Ponce for alleged DWI and ordered him to take a breathalyzer test. “The defendant (Ponce) provided a breath specimen that resulted in a .161/.178,” the criminal complaint states.

Ponce had a previous DWI conviction in April 2016, the criminal complaint states.

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