Alleged drunken driver denies stealing car

Published 10:08 am Friday, April 26, 2013

A passenger accused of stealing a car while parked at a gas on April 12 says he’s not guilty.

Hector Alonzo Estrada, 33, of Austin, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Mower County Court to felony vehicle theft; third-degree DWI refusal, a gross misdemeanor; fourth-degree DWI and driving after revocation, both misdemeanors.

The arresting officer allegedly saw Estrada driving without a seatbelt and started a traffic stop. The officer mentioned smelling alcohol, according to a court complaint, and gave Estrada several field sobriety tests, which Estrada failed. Estrada also refused to give a breath sample.

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After taking Estrada to the jail, the officer learned the original driver reported the car as stolen. The driver said he picked up Estrada because it was cold outside and then stopped at a gas station, according to the court complaint. However, the driver said Estrada took the vehicle when he went back outside.

According to the court complaint, Estrada’s driving privileges have been revoked since 2000. Estrada was convicted of domestic assault and interfering with a 911 call in 2012 and recently pleaded guilty to a felony assault charge, as well.

Estrada’s next court appearance is set for July 12.