Many people in Sonoma County who are stopped for a relatively minor traffic violation appear to believe that they can escape punishment for the traffic infraction by speeding away from the officers who made the stop. As demonstrated by a recent case in Healdsburg, such attempts are almost always futile and frequently lead to more serious criminal charges.
According to a news report, at about 2:40 a.m. one recent night, two Healdsburg police officers attempted to pull over a green Subaru Outback that had been reported stolen. The officers flashed their lights at the intersection of Healdsburg Avenue and Dry Creek Road. Police said, instead of stopping, the driver of the Outback hit the accelerator and sped away. The car later merged into Highway 101 headed south.
The two officers said they pursued the Subaru; the Subaru swerved from one lane to another and accelerated until it was traveling at speeds reaching 130 mph.
Arrest and charges
After a chase that lasted about 15 minutes, the Subaru took the College Avenue offramp in Santa Rosa and crashed into a box next to a traffic pole. According to police, the driver climbed out of her vehicle and ran up a highway embankment.
Police arrested the woman and took her to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. She was then booked into the Sonoma County Jail with bail set at $20,000.
In checking the woman’s name against records of other crimes, police learned that the woman was the subject of a warrant in Humboldt County for suspicion of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.
After her arrest, the woman was charged on suspicion of possessing a stolen vehicle, evading police officers with a wanton disregard for safety, and obstructing a police officer.
News reports often make it look as though a person is arrested should be considered guilty. In fact, our justice system is predicated on the presumption of innocence. All those accused of a crime have the right to a defense. When the charges are serious, an experienced criminal defense attorney may help by evaluating the evidence, suggesting potential defense strategies and, when appropriate, negotiating an acceptable plea agreement or arguing in court.