CARMICHAEL (CBS13) – The suspect in a hit-and-run accident that killed four dogs and injured two people in Carmichael earlier this week was arrested Thursday morning for driving under the influence, according to the CHP.
Paul William Walden, 31, of North Highlands was pulled over at about 1:22 a.m. by CHP officers at Bainbridge Drive at Salazar Drive after leaving his mother’s home. He was driving a 1987 Nissan Maxima that matched the description of the vehicle that plowed into Gemily West, 23, Harison Long-Randall, 21, and West’s four Australian Cattle show dogs at Engle Road and Garfield.
“I don’t know anything that happened,” his mother said through her screen door Thursday afternoon. “I’m very sorry for everybody involved. I’m very upset.”
Officers were staked out near the home and pulled Walden over after he left the residence, the CHP told CBS13. They were tipped off to his whereabouts and when they noticed the significant front-end damage to his car, they knew they had their man.
“It was pretty much the exact same way it would have been at the time of collision,” CHP Officer Todd Van Lindt said.
The arrest was good news to West’s family.
“I found myself shaking with a sense of relief knowing this will bring closure to what happened,” said her sister, Lilleah, in an email to CBS13.
On Monday at about 10 p.m., Randall, West and the four dogs were crossing Garfield in the crosswalk when the suspect vehicle struck a stop sign pole on the northwest corner of the intersection. The suspect vehicle then struck Randall, West and the four dogs in the crosswalk and the driver fled the scene.
All four dogs were killed and Long-Randall lost a leg in the accident.
Walden was arrested during the enforcement stop for driving under the influence. Walden was later interviewed by CHP investigators and admitted to being the driver of the 1987 Nissan Maxima in the hit-and-run. He said he only thought he hit one dog and that’s why he didn’t stop, the CHP said.
Officers estimated the vehicle was going 80 mph prior to the collision and never made an attempt to stop.
Walden’s mother expressed her condolences to the victims, but CBS13 questioned how for three days, she didn’t know something was wrong.
“Did you notice the damage to his car?” CBS13′s Checkey Beckford asked her.
“No, I didn’t,” she said.
“Even though it was parked here you didn’t see it was badly damaged?”
“It was parked on the far side and I have no reason to go over there unless I take out garbage and I didn’t.”
Walden was booked into the Sacramento County Jail on two counts of felony hit-and-run, four counts of felony animal cruelty, misdemeanor driving under the influence and driving on a suspended driver’s license.
Walden has a lengthy criminal record, including at least three other DUI arrests since 2001. He pleaded no contest to DUI in 2001, 2003 and 2005, according to Sacramento Superior Court records. Most recently, he pleaded no contest to possession of a controlled substance and assault and battery in April 2011.