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Friend dies trying to stop woman from driving drunk at his birthday party

Police say Jonathan Carlyle Merkley tried to stop his friend from driving drunk by walking in front of her BMW and lying down on the ground.
Police say Jonathan Carlyle Merkley tried to stop his friend from driving drunk by walking in front of her BMW and lying down on the ground. File photo

Jonathan Carlyle Merkley spent the last night of his life celebrating his 34th birthday with friends in suburban San Diego.

Police say the friends were together at a hotel when one of Merkley’s friends tried to drive away around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

The friend had been drinking, and so had Merkley, witnesses told police.

Merkley tried to stop his friend from driving away by walking in front of her BMW and lying down on the ground, according to the Orange County Register.

She ran over Merkley, San Diego Police Sgt. Tom Sullivan told the Register.

He died about 45 minutes later at a hospital, Sullivan said.

Police know the woman’s identity, but she apparently has not been detained.

“She needs to turn herself in. You need to understand there was a mistake that was made, but to do the right thing,” hotel guest Gloria Williams told Fox News on Sunday. “I think this is crazy, we don’t value each others lives.”

KTLA and other media reported that Merkley was trying to stop his friend from driving drunk, some calling it “a heroic action.”

What’s wrong “with these people (that) makes them THINK they can drive when they can barely walk. You’re that drunk that you didn’t know that you ran over your friend,” one woman commented on KTLA’s website.

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