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Morgan Hill
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December 5, 2020

Police: Public intoxication leads to ‘high-risk’ traffic stop

Police conducted a “high-risk” traffic stop May 18 when they pulled over a motorist who was seen urinating in the middle of a north Morgan Hill intersection, authorities said.

Pictures of the incident, which ended when the allegedly drunken motorist finally pulled over at a shop on Church Street, show the suspect’s van surrounded by Morgan Hill Police patrol cars and officers. At least one of the officers had a rifle drawn and pointed at the suspicious van, which contained two occupants. A passerby shot the photos and emailed them to the Times.

A witness called police just before 4 p.m. May 18 to report a male adult urinating in a center median at an intersection north of town, according to MHPD Sgt. Carson Thomas. The man entered a work van and drove away, but the witness followed the van to San Pedro Avenue.

Officers caught up to the van and attempted to make a traffic stop, but the driver failed to yield while continuing at slow speeds, Thomas said. At one point, the driver veered over the center line and clipped a MHPD patrol car.

The van stopped at an auto repair shop near the intersection of Church Street and Mast Avenue, which is about a half-mile from the MHPD station. Officers surrounded the vehicle and “initiated a high-risk stop,” Thomas said.

The driver, Yrineo Pantoja, 37, was arrested on suspicion of evading police, DUI and driving on a suspended license, police said. The passenger, Walfre Diaz, 39, was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication.

Anyone with information about the incident can contact MHPD at (408) 779-2101.

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