Driver and passenger fled on foot but were arrested after a search

A Taft man was arrested on felony drunk driving and hit and run charges after he triggered a 3-car collision on Highway 119 Sunday that sent one woman to the hospital.

Bacilio Paz, 54, and a passenger were arrested after a search by Kern County Sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers in a wide area on the east side of Highway 119 north of Buena Vista Golf Course.

He is charged with two felony counts.

His passenger, Marcelino Rogue, 24, also of Taft, was charged with public intoxication.

Witnesses said the men threw a 12-pack of beer from the vehicle as they fled the crash scene, jumping a fence and heading into a canyon.

The CHP said Paz was driving a Honda sedan westbound on Highway 119 just south of Tubman Road about 9:30 a.m. when he made an unsafe lane change, colliding with a Mazda sedan.

Paz lost control of his car and it went across the eastbound lane and collided with the dirt shoulder. The car came back into traffic lanes and struck an eastbound Subaru SUV driven by Melanie Funk, 74, of Taft.

The impact caused Funk's vehicle to overturn, landing upside down on the east shoulder.

Paz' vehicle continued west for a distance before coming to rest.

Paz and Rogue fled the vehicle but were located near the BV Golf Course after a lengthy search.

Funk was taken by ambulance to Kern Medical with minor injuries.
The driver of the Mazda, Francisca Saldana, 51, of Taft, was not injured.