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Police: Fall River Crash Driver Was Drunk, Not Road Rage Victim

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The crash on Route 79 under the Braga Bridge on February 19. (Photo Credit: Allyson-Faye Katz)

The crash on Route 79 under the Braga Bridge on February 19. (Photo Credit: Allyson-Faye Katz)

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BOSTON (CBS) – The driver in a fiery truck crash in Fall River last month who claimed he was a road rage victim is now charged with drunk driving.

Forty-two-year-old Luis Cotto of Taunton was charged Thursday with operating under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and a marked lanes violation in the crash on Route 79 under the Braga Bridge back on February 19.

State police said his story about being a victim of road rage was a lie.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports

Cotto told WBZ’s Bill Shields the day after the crash that a car cut him off, both vehicles pulled over, a group of men got out, beat him up and took off.

“I got hit from behind, and fell down,” Cotto said. “Then, they were all kicking me in the head.”

Cotto claimed he then crawled back to his truck and started to drive away, but said he saw flashes from a gun, heard several shots and crashed.

“I heard three or four shots, and I ducked under the dashboard,” Cotto told WBZ. That’s when he claimed he struck a guardrail, and his truck burst into flames. “The explosion hit me right in my chest,” he said.

State Trooper Allyson Powell found Cotto unconscious and hanging over a jersey barrier near his truck, which was engulfed in flames.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

Powell was later part of a team of investigators who looked into Cotto’s claims and found them to be false.

“After troopers completed that part of the investigation, they confronted Cotto with their findings. At that point, Cotto recanted his statement suggesting the crash was a case of road rage and made further statements about the crash. He was notified at that time that he was being charged,” State Police said in a statement Thursday.

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