State police arrest 5 in multiple crashes, traffic stops in short span

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island State Police have arrested five people on the roads in the past 24 hours, including four for driving under the influence after a series of crashes.

“This was a horrible night on our roadways,” State Police Captain Matthew Moynihan told Eyewitness News. “It’s upsetting to realize that people aren’t heeding the warnings that are out there.”

Police said among those arrests was a man who crashed into another car while driving the wrong way on Route 6 in Providence overnight.

Isaias Barrera, 22, of Providence was charged with driving under the influence of liquor or drugs after he crashed his car on Route 6 around 1 a.m. Friday. 

Witnesses told police that Barrera’s car was traveling the wrong way on the Hartford Avenue off-ramp and then headed east in the westbound lanes of Route 6, where it struck another car.

Two people were also charged with DUI following two separate crashes in the same location on Interstate 95 south, just north of Route 146, around 11:45 p.m. Thursday night. Troopers were called to the scene by a AAA tow truck driver, who reported that he stopped to help a disabled motorist on the side of the road when his truck was struck by another car.

The disabled motorist, Otoniel Junior Mestres, 21, of Central Falls, told troopers he had been driving south on I-95 when he crashed into an unidentified vehicle that had stopped for traffic. That vehicle then fled the scene, according to Mestres.

Mestres told police he then pulled into the breakdown lane and the AAA driver arrived to assist him. He was charged with driving under the influence of liquor or drugs and treated at Rhode Island Hospital.

The AAA driver told police when he stopped to assist Mestres, his truck was hit from behind by another car.

The driver, Samy Pimental, 24 of Providence was charged with driving under the influence of liquor or drugs with a blood-alcohol concentration greater than .15.

The 4th DUI arrest was Ronald Townsend, 30 of Coventry. Police said he was charged with driving under the influence of liquor or drugs, second offense, driving in possession of controlled substances and possession of marijuana over one ounce after a traffic stop on New London Avenue in West Warwick around 1 a.m. Friday.

“This is a serious situation,” Captain Moynihan said. “People need to heed the warnings, they need to designate a driver, they need to stay off the roadways.”

He urged drivers to call 911 if they see an erratic or possibly drunk driver on the road.

The 5th arrest involved Onasi Olio Rojas, 21, of Pawtucket, who was already infamous after he allegedly went on a dangerous joyride on Facebook live last November, reaching speeds up to 116 m.p.h and crashing into a garbage truck.

Police said Rojas got behind the wheel again Thursday afternoon, despite having a suspended license. He was charged with driving on a suspended license for certain violations (reckless driving), second offense after rear-ending another car on I-95 South around 3:30 p.m.

He was arraigned on Friday on the charge of driving on a suspended license and held without bail as a probation violator.