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Woman in Custody for Alleged Drunken Driving Crash, Fleeing Scene, in Coachella

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Coachella, CA -

A young woman accused of driving drunk and triggering a fiery Christmas time crash in Coachella, then trying to flee on foot and destroy blood samples drawn to determine her blood-alcohol level, was in custody today in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Daniela Montano, 20, of Bermuda Dunes, was arrested Sunday in Thermal in connection with the crash last Dec. 23 at the intersection of state Route 86
and Avenue 50.

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At 5:56 that morning, Montano was headed east on Avenue 50 in a silver Honda Accord that crashed into a black Jeep Grand Cherokee traveling north through the intersection on state Route 86, according to sheriff's Sgt. Chris Olsen.

The Jeep caught fire, but motorists who stopped to help were able to extinguish the flames, Olsen said. The Jeep's driver, Jesus Mendez, suffered a broken foot, ankle and finger, according to court documents, which also state that Montano refused to provide a statement to sheriff's deputies regarding the crash, then fled on foot.

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She was found hiding behind two concrete pillars not far from the crash scene, an arrest warrant declaration states.

Blood samples were taken when Montano was taken to John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio to be checked out. The two vials holding the samples were placed inside an envelope near Montano's hospital bed, but Montano took the vials and broke them open, according to the declaration.

Prosecutors charged her last month with drunken driving causing injury, hit-and-run and a misdemeanor count of destroying evidence. She's being held at the Riverside County jail in Indio, according to jail records.

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