NewsOperation Safe Roads


Glendale man upset hit-and-run driver wasn't charged with DUI

It was not the suspect's first offense
Posted at 5:00 AM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 09:56:45-04

GLENDALE, AZ — A Glendale man was caught on camera struggling to stand and speak to law enforcement. ABC15 obtained the body camera footage following a hit-and-run incident on Dec. 2, 2021, near 75th and Glendale avenues. 

"Do you need the fire department or something?" a Glendale officer asks Jesse Maya in the video.

"Yes, sir," Maya replies.

"What's going on with you?" the officer asks.

"I got drunk," said Maya. 

The 76-year-old admits in the video that he hit another driver with his car but decided to take off and go home. 


The man in the other vehicle reached out to Operation Safe Roads to investigate this because he learned this driver has been intoxicated behind the wheel before but was not charged with DUI this time around. 

"Someone hit me from the rear," said John, the victim in that hit-and-run collision. He did not want to be further identified for his safety. "I sit at this intersection right here and I clench up."

His car and his memory are stalled at that West Valley intersection by anxiety.

He explained to ABC15 how another driver bumped into his stopped car. He looked into his rear-view mirror and said he thought the man was flashing an offensive hand sign. 

"I said, 'wait a minute, you hit me,' and no, he was shushing me! He was shushing me," John explained. 

A finger to the suspect's lips, apparently telling John to be quiet, and he then drove away from the scene. 

John then decided to follow the driver who hit him, which police do not suggest. 

"He went into his apartment," said John. "I parked behind him and I called the Glendale police. They came in a few moments."

I requested the call logs from the department. They arrived on the scene within two minutes of the 911 call and spent time talking to John and another individual outside before attempting to make contact with the suspected driver, Jesse Maya. 

"What happened?" asked Glendale Officer Jared Ellis on the body camera footage. 

"I went and got drunk," replies Maya, who goes on to tell Officer Ellis he was drinking at a local restaurant before hitting John on his way home. 

"I know I did wrong," he said to the officer. 

But this is not the first offense for Maya.

He actually does not have a license because of a previous DUI charge, according to court records. 

"I don't feel safe... other people shouldn't feel safe either," John said.

Glendale Police did cite Maya for the hit-and-run and driving on a suspended license. But, John wanted to know why the suspect was not charged with a DUI and taken to jail.


In the incident report, it says... "Due to the timeframe since the call for service originated, and Jesse leaving the vehicle, he was not investigated for driving under the influence." 

"It's not what you think happened but what you can prove in court," said Phoenix attorney Jason Lamm. "That's what police and prosecutors look at."

ABC15 spoke with Lamm to get his expert perspective on the case. 

He said in Arizona, proving a DUI requires a showing of impairment at the time of driving or a blood alcohol level in excess of the legal limit at or near the time of driving. 

"First, the driver could consume alcohol after the accident," Lamm explained. 

Because Maya left the scene and went inside his house, despite a confession, police cannot prove he did not drink inside before making contact with officers.

"There would need to be a scientific analysis called retrograde analysis to show what the driver's blood alcohol concentration was at the time of driving and that's always subject to dispute in court," Lamm said. 

It is understandably frustrating to drivers, like John, who is only thankful he took the hit instead of a nearby student. 

"Those kids come from that high school and they walk...  they're in this intersection," John said. "Luckily it was me because he would have run over a kid. Luckily it was me and that right there bothers me."

But even Glendale police made it clear that day that they would keep an eye out for Maya. 

"I work this beat every day," Officer Ellis said to Maya on the body camera footage. "I'm going to remember you and that car. If I see you driving again, I'm going to take you to jail. Okay? And if you're drunk, you're definitely going to get charged with that too."

The Glendale Police Department declined ABC15's interview request on this topic. They did provide some information via email: 

"In this type of investigation for DUI, we have to show the driver of the vehicle was in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances and the person was impaired to the slightest degree.

The call was dispatched at 1:36pm. The officer arrived shortly after and contacted the victim. The officer gathered information as to what happened and there was no mention from the victim that he suspected the suspect was DUI. The officer contacted the suspect at 1:46pm and thus there was a time gap that the suspect was in his home alone. This time gap created a challenge to the DUI investigation because there is no accountability to what the suspect was doing while inside his home alone. Any further consumption of any intoxicating substance after driving would create substantial challenges showing the driver was impaired when he was in actually physical control of the vehicle.  When the officer later asked the suspect what happened, the suspect said, “I came here and did what I did”. The officer asked, “what did you do” and the suspect replied, “drink”. The officer asked, “Okay and then” and the suspect said, “I just drank”. The officer did not believe there was sufficient evidence to further a DUI investigation.

These types of investigations are case by case and based on the totality of the circumstances. The officer in this case decided to cite the driver for driving on a suspended license and for hit and run."

The suspect will be in Veteran's Court with the city later this month where he can plead guilty or no contest, according to a letter to the victim obtained by ABC15.