According to a Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office incident report, On March 26th, 2023, at 2:59 AM, Deputy Dennison and Deputy McClure were dispatched to 906-BLK Coogler Road in reference to a reckless vehicle. Deputy Dennison located the vehicle at the intersection of the South Bypass and Wagner Drive, observing the vehicle weaving. Deputy Dennison and Deputy McClure initiated a traffic stop and attempted to make contact with the driver, who was later identified as Edwin Mendoza-Perez, 19, of Chattanooga, TN. Mendoza-Perez quickly exited the vehicle and walked into the Circle K gas station at 3390 Airport Road. According to the report, “Deputy Dennison went in behind Mr. Perez-Mendoza, but he went into the bathroom and locked the door. Deputy Dennison stood outside of the bathroom and could hear Mr. Perez-Mendoza talking to someone on the phone. Mr. Perez-Mendoza was telling the person on the phone that he was stopped by law enforcement. Mr. Perez-Mendoza then exited the bathroom where Deputy Dennison was waiting for him. Deputy Dennison asked Mr. Perez-Mendoza why he exited the vehicle so quickly and came into the gas station bathroom. Mr. Perez-Mendoza advised Deputy Dennison that he did not know that law enforcement was behind him even though he was telling the subject on the phone that he knew law enforcement was there. Deputy Dennison escorted Mr. Perez-Mendoza back outside to his vehicle.” Deputy McClure was speaking with the passenger of the vehicle, identified as a juvenile who was obviously extremely intoxicated and drunk by alcohol. The juvenile was barely responsive to deputies. EMS transported the juvenile to the hospital. Deputy Dennison asked Perez-Mendoza what was wrong with the juvenile, and he stated that he was just drunk. Perez-Mendoza showed several signs of alcohol impairment as well and stated he only had one Corona beer before driving. Perez-Mendoza refused to perform field sobriety exams and was placed under arrest. Deputies located in plain sight an empty bottle of an alcoholic beverage along with an open bottle of an alcoholic beverage on the passenger floorboard. Perez-Mendoza was charged with possession of alcohol by persons under the age of 21, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, DUI Alcohol Less safe, open container violation, and driving with a suspended license.
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