Suspected drunk driver hits mother, son leaving graduation ceremony

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Police say a man who hit a mother and son while driving in Tempe Wednesday night appeared to be intoxicated.

Andrew Merriman, 22, was driving a 2009 Ford Mustang west on Fifth Street about 11:30 p.m. when he lost control at a curve in the road, according to police. He reportedly struck the mother and son as they were walking west on the sidewalk.

Police said the mother was visiting from out of state for her son's graduation from a master's program at Arizona State University, and they had just left the ceremony.

Both pedestrians were knocked to the ground, and the mother was transported to a hospital with serious injuries, police said. She remained in the hospital Friday.

Police said Merriman showed signs of intoxication and had just left El Hefe bar on Mill Avenue. Police also said they have video of him drinking that night.

He is being charged with aggravated DUI and two counts of felony endangerment, according to court documents.

"He made the decision to go out and drink," Tempe Police Lt. Michael Pooley said. "He made the decision and it impacted somebody's life significantly."

Investigators learned through the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division that Merriman had his driver's license suspended after failing to appear in Surprise City Court, according to court documents.

Police are investigating how much alcohol Merriman allegedly consumed at the bar and if the business violated any liquor laws.

A manager at El Hefe declined to comment.

Merriman had a friend in the front seat at the time of the crash, according to court documents.

He has a status conference scheduled for May 29 and preliminary hearing June 4.

Andrew Merriman IA video