A 23-year-old man police say was driving a car with seven children in it — including three in the trunk — while his blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit was arrested on suspicion of aggravated DUI and child endangerment on Monday.
Robert Soto was caught by Mesa police shortly after 7 p.m. in the 300 block of East Marilyn moments after he drove through an accident scene and blocked traffic on Mesa Drive near Brown Road, according to police.
In 2008, Soto had spent one month of a 10-month sentence in an Arizona Department of Corrections prison for a hit-and-run conviction after leaving the scene of an injury accident in 2006, according to prison records.
On Monday, police were responding to a report of a road-rage incident when they discovered Soto sitting in his black 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse with bloodshot eyes and a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, officers said.
Soto, who had been arrested for hit-and-run, assault, criminal damage and underage drinking, told police he had three beers earlier in the day.
After Soto failed a series of sobriety tests, he voluntarily submitted to a blood alcohol test, and his BAC registered .16 on a portable breathalyzer test — twice the legal limit — according to a police report.
In the 2006 incident, a truck Soto was driving struck another vehicle on Ellworth Road near Ocotillo Road in Mesa, causing nonlife-threatening injuries to an 8-month-old girl who was a passenger in the other vehicle, according to court records.
Soto, who left the scene, was placed on three years probation, but his probation later was revoked in 2008 for repeated methamphetamine use and living at an address that was not approved by the court, court records stated. Soto then was sent to prison where he spent one month.