Police Blotter: Behind bars on Independence Day

Posted on July 17, 2014 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Numerous alcohol-related busts July 4 in and around the Plaza festivities. One minor, male, 17, betrayed by the tell-tale Red Solo Cup, was popped for his backpack stash of raspberry vodka and amber ale. Another young man nervously threw a water bottle to the ground as officers approached; it was full of rum. Two more minors were found to be in possession (Coors Light; Corona) in Depot Park. All were cited and released

The drunken antics of two adults were more troublesome, earning them the ironic distinction of being jailed on Independence Day. At about 2 p.m., in an indecorous tableau definitely not part of the July Fourth parade, a man was standing in the middle of West Spain Street, at Third, exposing his penis to passing motorists. Shirtless, wearing only shorts with the zipper down, the Sonoma man, 37, was also waving a flag he had stolen from the nearby church.

An El Verano man, 25, was found passed out in a patch of dirt in Depot Park about 4:30 p.m. Face down, sweating into the dust, the man was roused after much effort. Initially incoherent, the reveler came around to realize “he went to sleep with his friends but woke up with the cops.” When he gave them the wrong first name, officers figured it was less an evasion that plain old drunkenness. He was certainly in no shape to explain the 3.9 grams of cocaine in his pants pocket.

In another July 4 case, a group of young men was found in the Plaza Rose Garden surrounding an unconscious man. Interviews revealed that the man, 33, out of Santa Rosa, had been yelling at the others. Confrontational, and likely drunk, he took off his shirt and challenged the others to a fight. The abuse was such that the ensuing punch, from one of the youths, was deemed to be self-defense. The instigator was taken to the hospital where, despite his belligerence, he received three stitches for a forehead wound. No charges were filed.

Roadside fireworks

In a case of stuck-in-traffic road rage, tempers flared like the fireworks show that had just concluded. A Windsor man, 22, stuck in his red truck, took exception to comments from roadside pedestrians. He emerged from the vehicle and, rather than engage in a lively debate over freedom of speech and the founding father’s interpration of the First Amendment, grappled with the heckler and threw him to the ground. The assault, coupled with a violation of felony probation, earned him a return trip to jail.

In the final entry for a busy Fourth, a man leaving the Plaza area at about 11 a.m. smacked his Ford Ranger into a parked car. “No big deal,” he told police, who were more concerned with his sobriety than the minor damage to the vehicles. His recap of the holiday – “four or five beers” – was verified by the .10 blood alcohol test result. He was jailed.

Huffing and puffing

For a guy who had just been sleeping on the ground in the Maxwell Village parking lot, with his torso in the traffic lane, the Glen Ellen man, 48, put up quite a fight on July 10. Cops approaching the prone figure on at 11 a.m. noticed an aerosol can; apparently the man had been “huffing” the canned chemicals to get high. He was sweaty, sloppy and slow to communicate, but grew more combative. Officers responded by taking the man to the ground; in the ensuing fight, an officer hurt his wrist, and the suspect suffered abrasions. He was treated at Sonoma Valley Hospital before removal to jail on charges of drunk in public, and resisting arrest.

Sad pilgrimage

A resident of the 900 block of Fifth Street West noticed a recent addition to a neighbor’s landscaping on July 6: a drunk man, passed out in the porch. The man, 58, an ex-relative of the homeowner, had a large vodka bottle, and had stained himself during his unconscious interlude in front of the unoccupied home. He was removed on a drunk in public charge. Sadly, the sorry scene repeated itself two days later, when the man, released from jail that day, reassumed his drunken vigil on the porch. Again comatose, bottle in hand with urine-soaked pants, he was taken to jail.

ID scam alert

Two cases of ID theft on July 7. Scam #1: Fake IRS agent “Daniel Rich” called to threaten to send a man, 76, to jail for 20 years if he didn’t pay back taxes with a cash card. The man duly bought a card, and gave the PIN number to another “agent” who called later that day. The whole thing was a con, and the man was out the $919 dollars he put on the untraceable card. Scam #2: Same con, but the caller said he was from the Sheriff’s Department, and need $500 to keep the victim’s wife out of jail for missing jury duty. The caller kept the man, 70, on the line, warning him not to tell the clerk or anybody else what he was up to. A sharp teller at his bank, where he made the withdrawal to buy the card, was suspicious, and called cops. They found the man parked at the Napa Street 7-11, phone in hand. He had just provided the PIN number.

Drunk of the Week

General rule: There really isn’t a good time to drive down the center turn lane, then blow through a red light as the police close in from behind. 10:30 p.m. on July 3 was no exception. When stopped at Highway 12 and Lomita, the driver, a 29-year-old Santa Rosa man, slurred that he had just left his girlfriend’s house after, during the coarse of the visit, consuming two shots of vodka and a glass of wine. The imbibing, he told officers, had left him “warm and happy.” Legally, given the .13 blood alcohol level, that translates as just plain drunk. He was jailed for the obvious DUI.

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