Food truck driver charged with DUI in hit-and-run crashes

NORWALK — A Norwalk man is facing DUI charges after allegedly crashing his food truck into two vehicles in a pair of separate crashes, one of which left a husband and wife hospitalized, police said.
The first crash was reported at 7:18 p.m. on Friday in the rear parking lot of a Woodward Avenue liquor store. The victim in this case snapped photos of the license plate of a white GMC Sierra pickup truck with a canteen food trailer after it smashed into his vehicle and fled the scene, police said.
Police traced the plate to Jose Mercado, 28, and attempted to make contact with him at his Richards Avenue home. While speaking with Mercado’s wife, police say a white Sierra pickup screeched into the parking lot. The truck had sustained heavy front-end damage and was missing a front tire. The driver of the truck — identified as Mercado — appeared intoxicated and had trouble standing up. Inside Mercado’s vehicle, police found two beer bottles on the floor boards and an expired insurance. Around this time, police were notified of a second hit-and-run crash that had occurred a short time earlier at the intersection of Fairfield Avenue and Cedar Street. The victims in this case told police they were hit from behind at a stop sign by a white pickup truck carrying a canteen food trailer emblazoned with the wording “Ale Coffee Truck and Canteen” followed by a phone number. After smashing into the rear of the car, the driver of the truck put his vehicle in reverse and fled, nearly striking the female passenger as the pickup jumped the curb and took off. An ambulance responded to the scene of the crash and both occupants — a husband and wife, ages 51 and 48 — were transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
Mercado was charged with evading responsibility, illegal operation of a motor vehicle without insurance and illegal operation of a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He was hit with an additional charge of assault on a public safety officer after allegedly causing a disturbance in his holding cell, police said. Mercado was held on $25,000 bond and is due in court Nov. 24.

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