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Douglas Perez, UC Berkeley Student, Crashes Car Into Dorm

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A day before classes were to begin at the University of California-Berkeley, students in one dorm got a scary, middle-of-the-night wake-up call when a car crashed into their residence hall and ruptured a natural gas line.

Police arrested UC Berkeley student Douglas Perez, 21, and charged him with drunk driving and hit-and-run in the incident. They said he left the scene of the accident but returned later to surrender to police.

According to police, Perez's 2012 Honda Civic jumped a curb on the edge of campus around 3 a.m. Wednesday morning. The car sheared off a gas meter and severed a 3-inch gas line at Putnam Hall, an eight-story dorm building. The collision set off fire alarms and forced more than 250 students to evacuate as a precaution while college officials checked for a gas leak.

"Most were asleep but some were up and said they actually felt the building shake and heard a big boom," Marty Takimoto, a UC Berkely spokesman told the Oakland Tribune.

Students were back inside by 4:30 a.m. but the utility company, PG&E, shut off service to the dorm for most of Wednesday. Takimoto said the hot water would be back on in time for students to take hot showers before they show up for their first class Thursday.

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