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Austin man charged with forgery after fleeing accident scene

A 23-year-old man residing in Austin was charged with aggravated forgery last week after fleeing from the scene of an accident.

Bernardo Zepeda-Gonzalez appeared in Mower County court on the felony-level charge Friday. He is scheduled for arraignment July 15 and could be deported.

Zepeda-Gonzalez was also charged with a DWI, as he registered a 0.14 blood-alcohol reading shortly after his arrest.

According to a criminal complaint, police were called on Thursday evening regarding a hit-and-run accident at the intersection of Fourth Street and First Avenue southeast. Dispatch notified officers that a Hispanic male had driven away from the scene, going west on First Avenue.

Officers located the suspect vehicle a short while later in an alley between Third and Second streets southeast. The defendant got out of the vehicle and appeared drunk, with watery, bloodshot eyes, the complaint states.

The man gave officers a Minnesota ID with the name “Mario Alberto Meza” on it. He admitted it was a name he used for work, the complaint states. Zepeda-Gonzalez then admitted his true name and provided Mexican documentation to police.

With another officer helping to interpret, Zepeda-Gonzalez told police that he had left the scene because he was scared and he had no insurance.