Man arrested for DUI later leads police on high-speed chase

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MESA -- There are serious questions about how a Valley man who was arrested for extreme DUI was able to get back behind the wheel the very same day to lead police on a high-speed chase.

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Man arrested for extreme DUI back on road? - azfamily.com's Kirsten Joyce reports there are serious questions about how a Valley man was arrested for extreme DUI and was able to get back behind a wheel the same day for a police high-speed chase.

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Joseph Cummings, 23, was first pulled over Monday afternoon during a DUI checkpoint along Bush Highway and Granite Reef Dam Road.

Then, just a few hours later, police say he blew through another checkpoint north of Power Road in Mesa until being arrested after a 120-mph chase down Loop 202.

On Monday evening, Mesa police were conducting a DUI checkpoint off Power Road. It was designed to target drivers who had too much to drink along the Salt River.

Officers pulled Cummings over about 5 p.m.

"As the officer is standing in the doorway, this driver just took off," said Mesa police Sgt. Ed Wessing. "Officers were jumping out of the way."

After a high-speed chase, Cummings was arrested.

"He admitted that he had just gotten released after being arrested for extreme DUI and he came through and he knew he was going to get arrested again so he took off," Wessing said.

Wessing says Mesa has a very strict DUI policy. During its DUI enforcement, anyone arrested for DUI is booked into jail and their vehicles are either impounded overnight or, for extreme DUI, 30 days.

"We obviously have some concerns about how that individual had access to the same vehicle less than two hours after he was arrested for DUI by another agency," Wessing said.

"I find it hard to believe that every agency says they book every individual for DUI," said Deputy Chief David Trombi with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. "I don't believe that to be the case. It's certainly not the case with us. If we can find a ride for somebody and they can get a ride home safely, that's the course that we would rather go down."

And that's what MCSO says happened in Cummings' case. He'd been arrested, cited for extreme DUI. Arrangements had been made for family to pick him up and deputies were planning to impound his vehicle.

"The deputy then leaves and starts to head back toward the vehicle that the suspect had been driving," Trombi said. "But as soon as he gets out onto the road, he observes another vehicle come through the intersection at a high rate of speed and not stop at the stop sign. The deputy then takes off after that vehicle."

And that's when Cummings allegedly hitched a ride back to his car.

Cummings is now facing several felony charges including flight, endangerment and DUI.