News

Couple arrested for DUI at Palo Alto golf course

Man hits three cars in two separate collisions; woman arrested for being drunk at her car

A man and woman who allegedly had a drinking rendezvous at the Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course netted double DUI arrests for Palo Alto police Monday evening (Jan. 31), but not before the man allegedly caused three accidents, police said.

The woman, 39-year-old Jung Sang Lee of Palo Alto, and 43-year-old Soo Ha Woo from Santa Clara, were mutual acquaintances and had been drinking at the golf course, according to police spokeswoman Officer Marianna Villaescusa.

Woo and Lee had come to the golf course in separate vehicles. At approximately 7:02 p.m., officers arrived at the golf course at 1875 Embarcadero Road on a report of a possible hit-and-run collision. Witnesses reported that the driver, a male, hit a parked vehicle and was uncooperative and possibly intoxicated.

The driver left the scene of the accident before police arrived. Witnesses noted the license plate number and described the car as a dark Toyota Camry, according to Villaescusa.

An officer spotted a white Toyota Highlander parked on top of a grassy embankment directly in front of the golf course and found a female driver, Lee. The officer immediately smelled alcohol on her breath, Villaescusa said.

Witnesses said the Highlander was not the car involved in the collision, but officers later learned that Lee had been in a verbal argument with the male driver from the hit-and-run car. Lee was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and was released to a sober acquaintance, Villaescusa said.

While officers were gathering further information, Palo Alto dispatchers received a 911 call regarding a second accident involving the same vehicle near Embarcadero Road and Cowper Street.

The caller reported that while she was driving westbound on Embarcadero, her vehicle and a second vehicle were struck by a dark Toyota Camry with a license-plate number that matched the car involved in the earlier accident.

Agent Anthony Becker spotted the Camry traveling northbound on El Camino Real at Medical Foundation Way. During a traffic stop, Becker immediately smelled alcohol coming from the male driver, Villaescusa said.

Several witnesses positively identified Woo as the driver in both accidents. His car also sustained damage consistent with the crashes, she said.

Woo was arrested for DUI and three counts of hit and run. He was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose. Both vehicles were towed from the scene. Neither Woo nor Lee has prior criminal histories, according to Villaescusa. No injuries were reported in any of the accidents and all vehicles sustained minor to moderate damage.

Comments

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Posted by Inspector Cleuseau
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Feb 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Another criminal apprehended and exposed! Thank-you Palo Alto Daily and Palo Alto Police for bringing this major criminal event to our attention. Keep up the good investigative work.


Like this comment
Posted by just wondering
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm

"An officer spotted a white Toyota Highlander parked on top of a grassy embankment directly in front of the golf course and found a female driver, Lee. The officer immediately smelled alcohol on her breath, Villaescusa said"

Is it illegal to be intoxicated in parked car?


Like this comment
Posted by PAPD-Critic
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]



Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm

"Is it illegal to be intoxicated in parked car?"

I think it's okay as long as you are NOT behind the wheel, and do not have an open container within reach. Any DUI lawyers out there to clarify?


Like this comment
Posted by PAPD-Critic
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 1, 2011 at 4:31 pm

To-Posted by musical, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood.

Excellent question:

As long as the keys are not in the vehicle.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 1, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Not a good week for the esteemed citizens of Palo Alto - 1 citizen arrested for DUI & another, now deceased, found to have an incredibly high BAC. Pathetic.

PAPD could increase city revenue by doing traffic stops near the golf course. Why do people have to speed to get to the golf course?


Like this comment
Posted by andreas
a resident of Ventura
on Feb 1, 2011 at 6:13 pm

> "Is it illegal to be intoxicated in parked car?"

Apparently, yes. I've read stories of people who climb into the back seat to sleep it off, and they get arrested for DUI anyway. It didn't make sense to me. It's better that they sleep, and where else can they go anyway? But the courts don't miss a chance to collect a fine.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 2, 2011 at 10:18 am

> I've read stories of people who climb into the back seat to sleep it off, and they get arrested for DUI anyway.

That hardly seems right, unless there is some reason or evidence to the fact that they must have been driving drunk to get where they were to pull over.


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Posted by wow
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 2, 2011 at 10:33 am

if you're the only person in the car, there's a rebuttable presumption that you must have been driving drunk to get to where you pulled over.In other words you are presumed to have been drunk behind the wheel unless you can prove otherwise.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of another community
on Feb 2, 2011 at 11:05 am

Seriously?? You people are defending these drunk people? How else do you suppose a drunk person in their car, with their keys gets to where they are? What, do they actually have to kill someone before getting arrested? A cop walks up to a car, for whatever reason, finds the person behind the wheel smelling like alcohol, yes they should be arrested. Absolutely.

I'm all for rights and freedoms and such - but my kids are on the road out there. Odd are you have loved ones out there as well. When it comes to drunk driving, it should be one and done. There is no viable excuse for such behavior.

Jeez. Coming down on cops for arresting drunk drivers - who ever heard of such a thing.


Like this comment
Posted by wow?
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 2, 2011 at 11:06 am

Way to completely disregard the most basic presumption -- that of innocence.


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Posted by mark
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Feb 2, 2011 at 11:50 am

Can you imagine who these guys woke up this morning, in a sleep slumber just before they were completely awake: "Ahh, what the.. God my head hurts, why am I thirsty..Oh F@@#$$$!!! I need more sleep, on no wait.. is this a dream... oh no!


Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 2, 2011 at 11:54 am

I do not think it is uncommon for people to drink and then get in their previously parked car and go to sleep. Remember the woman a few months back who apparently did so on El Camino in PA and was assualted by a man who broke her car window?

Better someone who has too much to drink sleep it off in their parked car than get out on the road to get home. And I don't think many are going to call a cab at that point in the evening-too lte for lucid thinking.


Like this comment
Posted by LAURA
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 2, 2011 at 12:14 pm

THANK YOU PALO ALTO POLICE for keeping us safe again, another job well done! I'm very thankful for such a great police force. :-)


Like this comment
Posted by B.S
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 2, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Basically, if you get a d.u.i for being drunk in your car and your car keys aren't in the ignition, you need appeal the charge... What if the person stopped pulled over, and then drank some alcohol? They need to be able to prove it. Sounds like some BS to me, they can't just arrest that person for sitting in their car drunk. Palo Alto PD... Enough said.


Like this comment
Posted by Weezy
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 2, 2011 at 1:00 pm

The car WAS up on an embankment. You don't think she was driving?


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Posted by annoyed
a resident of another community
on Feb 2, 2011 at 5:33 pm

allright all you amatuer crimefighters and haters. If the car left the roadway and was up an embankment then that is classified as an accident and the person who is suspected to be the driver can be arrested.


Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 2, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Obviously not a great spot to pitch some woo.....


Like this comment
Posted by Dennis
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 2, 2011 at 9:56 pm

It is time to put a stop to all the criminal behavior associated with golf. Shut the course down!


Like this comment
Posted by Steve C
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 7, 2011 at 7:43 am

If you are intoxicated, in the drivers seat, and the keys are in the vehicle, you can be charged with operating under the influence, or attempting to operate under the influence.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve C
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 7, 2011 at 7:49 am

Should clarify that the keys must be in the ignition, not just in the vehicle. Point is, if you are planning on sleeping one off, do not sit behind the wheel. If you are in the passenger side of the vehicle, you have a stronger case that you were not attempting to operate. Either way, lock your doors and remove the keys form the ignition.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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