Suspected DUI driver crashes into Pacific Beach duplex

Crash occurred in 2000 block of Thomas Avenue

SAN DIEGO - San Diego police on Monday arrested a 27-year-old man after he crashed his Mercedes Benz into a duplex in Pacific Beach.

The crash occurred at about 7 p.m. near Thomas Avenue and Noyes Street.

"It was extremely loud," said witness Dustin Schepici, who heard the crash from about half a block away. "Guy just came barreling around the corner, hit the parked car. As he hit the parked car, it caused him to hit the truck and then went into the house."

The driver, Jonathan Cowden, told police he was reaching for a lighter.

Nearly half of his Mercedes CLK was jammed in the home. One man was inside at the time but happened to be in another room. No injuries were reported.

Cowden was shaking his head as if in disbelief as he spoke with police. During his field sobriety test, he could barely keep steady. Cowden apparently failed because police handcuffed him and took him to jail on suspicion of DUI.

San Diego police Sgt. Art Doherty said driving under the influence is not just a New Year's Eve problem.

"Unfortunately, it's becoming a daily issue," he said. "It's unfortunate because we've got so many people out here that could be our family members, could be our friends."

Inside the home, there was major structural damage. The people who live there have been told they cannot stay because it is not structurally safe.

Cowden's bail was set at $2,500. Fixing the damaged home will no doubt cost much more than that. Cowden is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 3.

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