An underage drunk driver reportedly crashed his silver SUV, left, into the Taco Bell restaurant at 2121 Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth several times early Sunday morning. He was arrested and charged with multiple felonies. (Special photo)
DULUTH — Taco Bell’s current slogan encourages folks to “Live Mas.” But after allegedly driving drunk and smashing into a Duluth restaurant four separate times Sunday morning, one local teen might want to tone things down a bit.
At about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, a Gwinnett County police officer was patrolling near the intersection of Pleasant Hill Road and Satellite Boulevard when he heard tires screeching and a woman yelling for help. He would soon discover that 19-year-old Armando Lupercio had driven his pickup truck off the road and into a tree before continuing through the parking lot and smashing into the glass facade of Taco Bell — and that he wasn’t done yet.
As the officer responded, he reportedly watched as Lupercio drove around the corner of the restaurant and crashed into the building for a second time. He then backed up and hit the building yet again, police said.
Two women and the officer were standing in the drive thru lane when the truck took off again.
“I felt the driver’s intent was to strike any object or person within the path of the truck,” the responding officer wrote. “I saw the truck strike (one of the aforementioned women’s) vehicle as it sped (past). The truck made a sharp left turn and struck the building.”
Lupercio allegedly continued to rev the engine before the officer coaxed him out by drawing his weapon.
“I’m sorry,” Lupercio reportedly said, “but the gas pedal was stuck.”
Upon Lupercio exiting his vehicle, the officer said he noticed a “faint odor” of alcohol, glazed eyes and slurred speech. The Duluth resident reportedly registered a 0.142 blood-alcohol content, well above the DUI threshold of 0.08, on a breath test administered later at a Gwinnett County police precinct.
Lupercio was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, possession of alcohol by a minor, hit and run, improper lane change, first-degree criminal damage to property and two counts of aggravated assault. The latter three counts are felonies.
As of Monday, Lupercio remained in the Gwinnett County jail on $47,600 bond.