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Suspected DUI driver crashes through Westside Santa Cruz front yards

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SANTA CRUZ – Two men were arrested Thursday night after losing control of a Chevrolet Tahoe and careening through fences and two front yards before striking a Miramar Drive home, police said.

Both men in the white 1996 Tahoe were under the influence and admitted to being on their way from a Mission Street bar to one of the man’s Miramar Drive homes when they crashed about 10:15 p.m., Deputy Chief Steve Clark said.

Gregory Lazarotti, 41, of Santa Cruz, and Michael Rouse, 44, of Bend, Ore., were arrested, but police are still investigating who was driving because the men’s stories did not match some evidence found, Clark said.

When officers arrived at the chaotic scene, they found the Tahoe owner, Rouse, but he denied he had been driving, he said.

He told police the driver had fled through the neighborhood, Clark said.

Officers found Lazarotti a few blocks away, bleeding from facial injuries, and he admitted he had been driving, police said.

He was flown to a Santa Clara County trauma center.

Lazarotti was arrested on suspicion of felony hit and run and felony driving under the influence, Clark said. Rouse was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication.

Blood samples were taken from both men, Clark said.

“The forensic evidence will tell the tale,” he said.

The vehicle caused significant damage to plants, fences and the home, as well as to the Tahoe, police said.

Clark said the residents inside the home were awakened by what one person said sounded like an explosion.

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