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Teens' car struck by drunk driver on their way to Central High prom; suspect faces more charges

9 months 3 weeks 1 day ago Monday, May 08 2023 May 8, 2023 May 08, 2023 3:50 PM May 08, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

CENTRAL - Four teens headed to Central High School's prom never made it to the party because their vehicle was hit by a drunk driver Saturday night, authorities say. 

According to the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, the four teenagers were driving along Central Thruway near Hamilton Avenue around 9 p.m. when a different vehicle, driven by 33-year-old Erick Melendez, crossed over the median and into oncoming traffic. The cars hit head-on. 

Law enforcement says all four teens were taken to a hospital after their car flipped. A family member of one of the teens said first responders had to cut her prom dress to treat her injuries.  

Arrest documents said Melendez had an obvious smell of alcohol on his breath after the crash. He told deputies he was not drinking Saturday night, but failed a field sobriety test. Deputies say Melendez's blood alcohol content was .211%. 

After being discharged from a hospital, Melendez was booked for his second DWI, reckless operation and driving without a license. Jail records showed Monday that he was facing additional charges for vehicular negligent injuring. 

A school system spokesperson confirmed the victims were students at Central High but could not share further information on the situation or the extent of their injuries.

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