Meridian man charged with DUI after Black Cat Road crash

Statesman staffMay 9, 2013 

Justin Espinola

— A Meridian man police say tested at more than three times Idaho's legal blood-alcohol content limit was arrested after a crash on Black Cat Road that started a grass fire and knocked out power to hundreds on Wednesday.

Justin M. Espinola, 23, was being held in the Ada County Jail Thursday evening on $5,000 bond on a felony charge of driving under the influence. Ada County sheriff's officials said Espinola's latest DUI arrest is his third in Ada County since 2009, and his second this year.

Wednesday's crash happened near Black Cat's intersection with Overland Road. Police said Espinola lost control of his pickup, hit a power pole and rolled the truck just before 4:15 p.m. The pole and the power lines connected to it fell to the ground, and the grass caught fire.

Officials said Espinola was able to get out of the truck before it burst into flames. He told paramedics he didn't need to go to the hospital.

Deputies said they detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from Espinola. He was given a field sobriety test, and officials said he registered a .26/.25 blood alcohol content. The legal BAC limit for drivers in Idaho is .08.

Espinola is also charged with driving with a suspended license - a misdemeanor - and was arraigned on the charges Thursday afternoon. The crime of felony DUI is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Espinola has a sentencing hearing scheduled on May 31 for an excessive DUI arrest from February.

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