Fire chief leads police to suspect

Hollister Fire Chief Mike O'Connor has been a firefighter since 1989. He became the interim fire chief in April 2013 and then became the fire chief in January 2014.

Hollister Fire Chief Mike O’Connor assisted in leading police to the suspect of a driving under the influence hit and run accident, according to an announcement from the Hollister Police Department.
Hollister resident Mauro Merino, 20, was identified as the driver and displayed objective symptoms of intoxication, according to the release. Police responded to the report of a hit and run collision at about 9:50 p.m. Sunday Feb. 1 on the 800 block of South Street.
According to the announcement:
Officers were dispatched to the vehicle collision where a witness described a car crashing into other parked vehicles on South Street. The witness observed the suspect car then drive away from the area westbound.
Hollister Fire Chief Michael O’Connor was also responding to the crash when he noticed a vehicle driving on Monterey Street matching the description of the suspect vehicle with corresponding car damage. O’Connor notified responding police officers and led them to Washington Street where the suspect parked the vehicle and fled on foot.
A perimeter was set up around the area where the suspect was last seen. The suspect was eventually located hiding in a garage located in Grubb Alley. Mauro Merino, 20, from Hollister was identified as the driver and displayed objective symptoms of intoxication. He was arrested by Hollister Police Officers and transported to Hazel Hawkins Hospital for medical clearance. He was later booked at the San Benito County Jail for suspicion of driving under the influence and hit and run.
Anyone having information on this case or any other pending investigation is asked to call the Hollister Police Department at (831) 636-4330. Persons wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip Hotline at 800-87-CRIME. Information provided to WeTip may qualify for a reward.

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