Police arrest a 19-year-old female driver.
Robert Eliason contributed to this article
Hollister police arrested a 19-year-old woman suspected of driving under the influence on April 12. Police said they lost control of their vehicle and overturned around 12 graves at Calvary Cemetery on Hillcrest Road in Hollister.
According to chef Carlos Reynoso, “she was driving at high speed on the dirt and swerved to avoid a pedestrian”. said Reynoso. “She was alone in the vehicle and the driver did not appear injured at the time.”
The driver was arrested and taken to San Benito County Jail. Reynoso also said “as far as I know, she had no prior DUIs, and they won’t release her name until after her court hearing.”
He added that the driver is a local resident.
Throughout the day, concerned family members visited Calvary Cemetery to check on the gravesites of their loved ones. Silvia Rocha was there to see her family’s site.
“My first concern was for my father’s grave and my brother’s grave,” Rocha said. “I wondered if the graves were in good condition. They were very close, only a few meters from where the car arrived and my brother is very close to where the car landed. Their graves are undamaged and it looks like the people here did a good job clearing them up quickly.
She said only light damage and tire tracks on the lawn were visible when she arrived at the cemetery.
“When I saw the photos, it looked like a lot of graves had been destroyed,” Rocha said. “It’s unbelievable there hasn’t been more damage.”
Another concerned Hollister resident, Martin Perezchica, came to see his mother’s grave. “My mother is buried near where the car landed,” he said, “and I have a son and a bunch of other relatives. Everything looks OK, but this place exists It’s been a hundred years and I’ve never seen anything like it. And it’s lucky that this area has tombstones at ground level rather than standing, otherwise there would have been a lot more damage. It’s crazy, but my graves are fine.
Calvary Cemetery is working to repair gravestones that have been damaged. The cost of damage is still being assessed.
Cemetery staff and Hollister Police are asking family members of those buried in the cemetery to visit and inspect the graves to expedite the damage assessment process.
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