CHP

The California Highway Patrol - Sonora area made two separate arrests over the weekend for suspected DUI collisions where the involved drivers were charged with felonies.

According to a CHP press release, John William Birdsong, 68, of La Grange, was driving 50 miles per hour southbound on Highway 49 before 7 p.m. Sunday and approaching the stop light at Fifth Avenue where George Hernandez-Mejia, 27, of Pittsburg, had stopped at a red light in a 2013 Chevrolet Express Van.

The press release said Birdsong was unable to stop his vehicle due to his unsafe speed. The front of his Pathfinder crashed into the rear of Chevrolet, which had six additional occupants. The Pathfinder continued off the north shoulder of Highway 49, where it came to rest down an embankment. 

Kimberly Mondragon, 20 of East Adelanto; Kyi Thomas, 26 of Sacramento, and Birdsong were transported by ground ambulance to Adventist Health - Sonora for treatment of minor injuries 

While at the hospital, it was believed Birdsong was under the influence of alcohol.

According to Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office booking logs, Birdsong was booked into Tuolumne County Jail on suspicion of the felonies driving under the influence with three or more priors, driving under the influence with bodily injury, driving under the influence above .10 blood alcohol content with bodily injury and misdemeanor charges contempt of court and driving with a license suspended for DUI.

His bail was set at $30,000 and as of Tuesday morning, he remained in the custody of the Tuolumne County Jail. 

The day before, an Escalon man was accused of fleeing an accident scene to Black Oak Casino in Tuolumne.

On Saturday before 8 p.m., Douglas Wishart, 33 of Escalon, was driving a 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe westbound on Carter Street while a 35-year-old Sonora woman was driving a 2012 Chevrolet SUV southbound on Tuolumne Road north.

Wishart entered the intersection and crashed into the left side of the SUV, which was driving at 30 miles per hour. 

Wishart then reportedly drove to Black Oak Casino, while the female driver in the other care suffered minor injuries and was taken to Adventist Health - Sonora.

Wishart was located with the help of Black Oak Casino staff on the property.

According to Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office logs, he was charged with felony hit and run, DUi causing bodily injury, driving while his license was suspended for DUI and a variety of local warrant related to a previous DUI charge. 

Wishart was placed on a no bail hold in the Tuolumne County Jail and remained in custody as of Tuesday morning.

Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or gricapito@uniondemocrat.com. Follow him on Twitter @g_ricapito

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