Man arrested after high-speed car chase - East Valley Tribune: News

Man arrested after high-speed car chase

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Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2003 11:14 pm | Updated: 2:02 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Police arrested a man suspected of drunken driving Wednesday after they say he barreled through busy Mesa streets, running red lights and reaching over 80 mph in a school zone.

Joseph Leo Rivera, 37, of Mesa was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, extreme DUI, aggressive driving, reckless driving and reckless endangerment. Mesa Justice of the Peace Clayton Hamblen set his cash bond at $250,000.

Police said Rivera's blood alcohol level was .207, which is more than twice the Arizona legal limit of .08.

The incident started about 1:45 p.m. near Alma School and Baseline roads after dozens of drivers used their cellular phones to call 911, police said.

Police said Rivera was driving so fast, they were unable to get in position to stop him for nearly seven miles.

Mesa motorcycle officer Tom Gaupel said he was patrolling on Baseline near Greenfield Road when he heard the call and rode west to stop the tan Chevrolet truck. He rode about a half mile and saw the truck fly by, he said.

"By the time I got my bike turned around, he was already gone," Gaupel said.

Gaupel said he caught up to Rivera near Greenfield and Baseline roads, where he ran a red light and headed south, through the Pioneer Elementary School zone. Police estimated Rivera's speed in the school zone at 80 to 100 mph.

Gaupel stopped the truck near Greenfield and Guadalupe roads after Rivera ran through another red light. Police discovered an empty beer can in the truck's cab.

Rivera, who is a commercial painter, denied drinking and told police that he was driving home before police stopped him.

After volunteering to a breath analysis, he refused to give a blood sample.

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