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Texas woman who hit Palm Springs DUI signboard while driving under the influence pleads guilty


A 27-year-old woman who hit a DUI signboard at a checkpoint in Palm Springs while driving under the influence pleaded guilty today to misdemeanor charges and was immediately sentenced to three years probation.  

Clarissa Hernandez of Texas was arrested shortly after midnight on Aug. 11 at the intersection of East Tahquitz Canyon Way and North Calle Alvazado, according to inmate records. She was released the same day on a $5,000 bail bond.

She pleaded guilty Wednesday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio to one misdemeanor count each of willfully resisting and driving under the influence with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, according to court records.

She was immediately sentenced to three years of summary probation, according to Riverside County District Attorney's office public information officer Brooke Beare.

A DUI and driver's license checkpoint was conducted from 7 p.m. Aug. 10 to 1 a.m. Aug. 11 in the 1100 block of East Tahquitz Canyon Way, according to the Palm Springs Police Department.

"At approximately midnight, an electronic signboard stationed at Tahquitz Canyon Way and Calle Alvarado was struck by a vehicle,'' police wrote in a statement. "The driver, (Hernandez), had nearly collided with a group of pedestrians leaving the theater before colliding with the signboard."

A utility trailer with a signboard alerting drivers of the DUI checkpoint ahead was seen flipped on its side and resting on the sidewalk, according to a declaration in support of an arrest warrant filed by PSPD officer J. Valdivia. And about 40 yards away, a dark-colored Land Rover with a Texas temporary license plate was found in a dirt field.   

The Land Rover is believed to have been traveling eastbound on Tahquitz Canyon Drive when it struck the DUI checkpoint's trailer, which caused it to roll to its side, Valdivia said. Hernandez, who had a strong odor of alcohol, was then seen exiting from the Land Rover and using it to support herself while walking.  

"Her eyes were bloodshot red and watery, and her speech was slurred. She swayed forward and back continuously,'' Valdivia wrote. "She was angry, argumentative, and hostile."

She subsequently said that she drank a pint of tequila and had her last drink 10 minutes before the crash, according to Valdivia. Hernandez also walked away at some point and swung her hand at an officer who tried to stop her from leaving, police said.

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Article Topic Follows: Crime

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