Driver accused of DUI after collision sends 3 into Salinas River

MONTEREY COUNTY (KRON) — A man is in custody after an alleged DUI situation, in which he hit three people on a bridge in unincorporated Monterey County on Saturday, according to California Highway Patrol.

The crash that happened around 1:55 p.m. on Elm Avenue near Metz Road, knocked three pedestrians into the Salinas River.

After a search that lasted until 5:00 p.m. Saturday, only two of those people were rescued, Monterey County Sheriff’s officials said.

The third person is still missing.

CHP officials said a dive team from the Sheriff’s Office will search again Sunday morning.

“It’s going to be a delicate operation to search the river,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief Robert De La Rosa said. “That’s because the river is running so quickly.”

Nicanor Sanchez of Greenfield was allegedly driving a 2001 Honda Accord, headed east on Elm Avenue at 60 to 65 mph, when his car went through a locked gate to the bridge.

Beyond the gate, the river had been flowing over the road, CHP officials said.

The Honda allegedly hit the three people, sending them into the water. Two of them were able to swim to the east shore and cling to some tree branches to be rescued, according to CHP officials.

The pair were taken to Natividad Medical Center as they were both injured in the incident.

Police say one of them had minor injuries, but the other was seriously hurt.

Two helicopter crews and a ground crew searched the river for the third pedestrian, but the person was still missing as of 5 p.m., Cal Fire officials said.

Sanchez was arrested on suspicion of DUI causing great bodily injury and/or death.

Sanchez was taken to the county jail.

The Lopez and Hernandez families have set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the victim’s medical costs.

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