EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 14, 2013

Girlfriend: 'I told you you were too drunk to drive'

Alleged inebriated driver hit parked cruiser head-on

By Jill Harmacinski

---- — LAWRENCE — An alleged drunk driver who crashed head-on into a police cruiser apparently didn’t want to listen to his girlfriend about driving drunk.

Carlos Melendez, 26, of 570 So. Union St., Lawrence was arrested and charged with drunken driving, reckless operation and speeding after the 1:29 a.m. crash Sunday near 132 High St.

Police said Melendez was speeding when he lost control of his Acura MDX and went head-on into a police cruiser occupied by Officer Jay Cerullo and Detective Kevin Nigohosian. There were no serious injuries, but the three men were taken to Lawrence General Hospital for treatment.

Melendez’s eyes were bloodshot, his speech was slurred, he was unsteady on his feet and an “odor of an alcoholic beverage” was “emanating from his body,” Sgt. Michael Mangan wrote in his report.

Mangan said Melendez was also swearing at police, saying “(Expletive) you guys, you guys are all (expletive)” and “I don’t have to tell you (expletive).”

Melendez’s girlfriend, Madeline Delgado, 29, of 325 High St., arrived at the accident scene and started yelling at him.

“I told you you were too drunk to drive,” Delgado yelled at Melendez, Mangan wrote. After a brief back and forth, Melendez told Delgado to be quiet and that she was “stupid.”

“Ms. Delgado replied that Melendez was the ‘stupid’ one because he was so drunk he crashed into a police cruiser,” Mangan wrote.

Delgado told police she came home at 1 a.m. to find Melendez drunk in her house. She’d been at a party and he became upset with her because she would not answer her phone while she was there. He was drunk before leaving her home and she asked him not to drive, Mangan wrote.

Before she knew it, Melendez got in his Acura and sped away down High Street. She drove down the street and found him crashed head-on into the cruiser, she said.

Cerullo said he was driving the cruiser northbound on High Street when he saw the Acura “come around the bend at roughly 70 miles per hour.” He remarked to Nigohosian “This guy’s going to kill somebody.” Cerullo stopped on the side of High Street and then saw the Acura swerve to the far right, almost striking parked motor vehicles, and then swerve into his lane coming directly at him.

He told Nigohosian the car was going to hit them and to brace for impact, according to the report.

Both officers had soreness in their shoulders, arms, necks, back and legs after the crash.

The Acura and the police cruiser, a 2006 Ford Crown Victoria, were both left with heavy front end damage.

After Melendez was treated at the hospital, he was brought back to the police department for booking at 3:30 a.m. During the cruiser ride to the station, Melendez allegedly told Officer Christopher Cote “Man, I (expletive) up,” according to Mangan’s report.

Melendez refused to take a Breathalyzer test, which measures blood alcohol level, and his license was immediately confiscated by police.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.