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Two men took turns driving the same car while drunk in Salem early Monday morning, crashing it three different times, police said.

Erik Leibowitz, 43, a Salem native who now lives in Apoka, Fla., and Juan Rodriguez, 46, of Haverhill, were both charged with drunk driving and driving to endanger, Police lieutenant Scott Englehardt said.

“It was kind of comical,” he said. “It was the first time in my 31 years that I’ve seen two people get arrested for drunk driving in the same car.”

Leibowitz also faces charges of leaving the scene of property damage for one of the crashes.

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Police believe Leibowitz was driving the car down Essex Street around 1 a.m. with Rodriguez sitting shotgun when he hit a parked car. He then turned onto Washington Street, and stopped the car to look at the damage, Englehardt said. The two got back in the car and Leibowitz tried to make a U-turn.

They hit an island and blew out the front tire, Englehardt said.

The two stopped again and got out of the car, this time allegedly switching spots so Rodriguez was driving, Englehardt said.

Rodriguez continued down Washington Street, Englehardt said, and was slowed as he tried to turn onto Lafayette Street.

“Because there was no front tire, the car went wide,” Englehardt said.

Police had been watching on a surveillance video, and caught up to the pair at the intersection. When officers pulled in behind them, Rodriguez caused the final crash in the sequence by backing up into the cruiser, Englehardt said.

Officers found that both drivers were intoxicated, he said.


J.D. Capelouto can be reached at jd.capelouto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jdcapelouto.