The Valley Springs man arrested Saturday on suspicion of causing a major-injury single-vehicle crash off Highway 26 due to driving under the influence of alcohol is now believed to have been a passenger in the vehicle, said Officer Toby Butzler of the California Highway Patrol - San Andreas area.
At about 12:25 a.m. on Saturday, a 2006 Infiniti QX overturned in a dirt field off Highway 26 and Gold Creek Drive in Valley Springs, severely injuring occupants Brandon Sewell, 28, of Valley Springs and Richard Breakfield, 30, of Manteca.
Based on the statements of Breakfield at the scene, the CHP identified Sewell as the driver and placed him under arrest for driving under the influence before he was released to Doctor’s Medical Center in Modesto for treatment.
“The CHP feels he was being less than honest,” Butzler said on Tuesday afternoon.
Butzler said he could not provide the specific statements Breakfield made because the investigation was ongoing.
“The information he provided us led us to believe Sewell was the driver,” Butzler said.
A CHP press release said Breakfield was later determined to be the driver because of assistance from the public and local businesses.
Butzler said the CHP will request charges through the Calaveras County District Attorney’s Office against Breakfield for driving under the influence and causing injuries.
Sewell has not been able to provide a statement to the CHP regarding the crash due to his injuries, but Butzler said they are continuing to pursue one.
“Both of them sustained very serious injuries so that’s kind of hindering our attempts to interview people,” Butzler said.
Butzler said Sewell remained in the hospital. He said he did not know if Breakfield was still in Modesto Memorial Hospital.
The CHP said Tuesday that it was now believed that Breakfield was driving the Infiniti at an unknown speed when it left the road on the south shoulder of Highway 26.
A turning maneuver caused the vehicle to spin out of control and as it overturned in a dirt field, Sewell and Breakfield were ejected from the vehicle.
The vehicle came to rest on its wheels.
Butzler said the CHP planned to complete a form indicating that charges would not be sought against Sewell, despite his arrest. Sewell was not booked into the Calaveras County Jail.