Man Accused Of Kidnapping Estranged Wife, Trying To Drive Her To California

Drunk Man covering his face from police car light

Photo: PaulBiryukov / iStock / Getty Images

A Washington man was arrested after he kidnapped his estranged wife and tried to drive her to California over the weekend. According to The Chronicle, 49-year-old Julio Mendoza Salazar, of Kent, was charged with unlawful imprisonment, DUI and harassment, and threat to kill on Monday (April 22).

The victim called 911 dispatchers around 3:50 a.m. Sunday (April 21) about her husband trying to abduct her and take her to California, court documents read. She claims Mendoza Salazar asked her to "go out as friends" and she agreed. After drinking together, the suspect allegedly refused to take her home.

Officials said she stayed on the phone with dispatchers as Mendoza Salazar drove through Lewis County. The victim said he was driving "like a crazy person" and threatened to crash and kill them both. She reportedly told law enforcement staff, "I think he is drunk. I know he wouldn’t do anything, but he threatened to kill us both."

A Washington State Patrol trooper and Lewis County deputy spotted the suspect's vehicle and started pursuing him toward Chehalis. Authorities claim Mendoza Salazar drove at "erratic speeds," had trouble staying in his lane, and got too close to other vehicles.

Eventually, Mendoza Salazar pulled over, and the victim got out of the vehicle while still on the phone with 911 personnel. When cops checked the 49-year-old driver, they noted there was "a strong odor of intoxicants" coming from the vehicle in court records. Mendoza Salazar allegedly had trouble standing and had to keep leaning on his seat for support.

The suspect admitted to having "only four or five" drinks and didn't answer why he was driving in the opposite direction of the victim's home in Kent, according to officials. A breathalyzer test confirmed his blood alcohol content was over the legal limit at the time of his arrest, reporters said.

A judge set his bail at $25,000 before his preliminary hearing on Tuesday (April 23). As part of the conditions of his release, he was barred from drinking alcohol during the case. He's also not allowed to contact the victim.

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