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Mon, March 18

DUI suspect invents hijacking story

April Newman, 18, of Prescott Valley

April Newman, 18, of Prescott Valley

After avoiding a head-on collision with a drunk driver that had swerved into his lane Sunday, a Yavapai County Sheriff's deputy turned around and gave chase on southbound Highway 89 near Yarnell.

The chase ended when 18-year-old April Newman of Prescott Valley tried to drive over an embankment at the end of Luna Way but became stuck, said Dwight D'Evelyn, YCSO spokesman, in a press release.

Newman and another young woman who was a passenger in the Geo Metro Newman was driving, fled into a nearby ravine and hid until more deputies arrived, D'Evelyn said.

Both women initially told deputies they had been carjacked by Hispanic men who fled with them when the car became stuck.

However, Newman was wearing the same clothing as the fleeing driver, deputies noted, and she had the strong odor of alcohol on her breath, D'Evelyn said. In addition, several alcoholic beverages were open inside the car.

Eventually Newman's passenger admitted they made up the story so Newman could avoid a DUI charge, D'Evelyn said. Deputies arrested Newman on charges of extreme DUI, DUI under age 21, felony flight and underage alcohol consumption.

Newman is not the first driver to report a fictional carjacking under similar circumstances.

D'Evelyn said that on Dec. 3 a Cornville woman reported she was carjacked after crashing her car into an embankment and running away.

YCSO eventually charged that woman with a DUI, D'Evelyn said.

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