A local man tried to buy his way out of an arrest after he caused an accident while driving under the influence.
On Aug. 16, Tahlequah Police Sgt. Bryan Qualls was dispatched to EZ Mart on West Choctaw Street on a report of a hit-and-run. Qualls met with Antonio Ortiz Perez, who said he did not know he had run into another vehicle.
The officer could smell alcohol on Perez while gathering his information.
Jonathan McElmurry said he was driving west on West Choctaw and pulled up to the red light. He saw Perez pulling up behind him, and when he failed to brake in time, Perez struck McElmurry's vehicle. McElmurry motioned for Perez to pull over, and instead, the suspect accelerated and continued westbound. He followed the man until he pulled into the convenience store.
Dispatch told Qualls that Perez did not have a driver's license. Perez admitted he had two beers earlier when officers saw there was an open beer can in the cup holder of his truck. Qualls had the man perform a field sobriety test, which he failed.
As Perez was about to get in the patrol car after he was arrested, he kept saying, "I will just pay you."
Nevertheless, he was taken to the Cherokee County Detention Center and booked for aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, driving without a valid driver's license, and transporting an open container of alcohol.