Cops nab man fleeing vacation assault
A romantic Wine Country birthday celebration took a wrong turn May 17 when a Florida man and his Philadelphia girlfriend booked a room at the Lodge at Sonoma and then had an argument that turned violent.
Guests in the room below the out-of-state couple heard signs of distress and called police. When officers reached the room at 11:30 p.m. they found the boyfriend gone and the girlfriend with red marks around her neck that were beginning to dramatically swell.
The victim told police her boyfriend of one year took her to the floor and choked her with one hand while he punched her in the face with the other until she passed out. The man, police later learned, was 6-feet, 7-inches tall and weighed 235 pounds. He left with all his luggage and the girlfriend's wallet.
The woman was taken to Sonoma Valley Hospital for treatment of her injuries, was subsequently released and returned to Philadelphia.
Sonoma police, meanwhile, put out a "Be On the Lookout" bulletin, and alert Mill Valley police spotted the man's vehicle at a local Travelodge Hotel. He was arrested at 4 a.m. with the victim's wallet in his possession, although he told police he had taken it by accident.
Booked into the Sonoma County jail was 40-year-old Joe Ellard of St. Pete Beach, Fla., on felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon, battery with serious bodily injury and a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence.
In other incidents reported by local law enforcement:
Friday, May 13:
7:36 p.m. - Twice and you're out. A 37-year-old Sonoma man was seen in the Plaza fighting with others and apparently intoxicated. Police told him to quit fighting and go home. They returned a short time later and he was still in the Plaza, still drunk and still trying to fight with others. Police arrested the man for public intoxication and booked him into the county jail.
Monday, May 16:
10:19 a.m. - Two boys too young to drink. Two 14-year-old students, both boys, who had been drinking alcohol in the bushes along Nathanson Creek, got so drunk that both began throwing up in school. One of the boys fell down in a school hallway and began vomiting, the other threw up in a restroom. There was no information available about what kind of alcohol they were drinking or where they got it, but both boys were cited to Youth and Family Services for intervention.
3:17 p.m. - Bogus bill. Whole Foods market reported finding a counterfeit $20 bill in a cash drawer.
4:08 p.m. - Pay before you plant. A shopper at the Rite-Aid store in the Maxwell Village shopping center, helped himself to a $29.90 potted fruit tree, put it in the back of his champagne-colored Chevy pick-up, and drove off. A witness spotted the 42-year old man, his license number was traced, he was identified in a photo line-up and was being sought by police.
4:16 p.m. - Needed: man-sized lock. A $600 10-speed bicycle, secured with a child's lock to the bike rack at the Sonoma Valley Regional Library, was stolen.
8:10 p.m. - Drinking and loitering. A drunken man was reported stumbling about the intersection of Third Street West and West Spain. When police arrived, they spotted a man loitering at the side of a private residence. He was taken into custody and charged with loitering on private property and a probation violation.
Wednesday, May 18:
7:15 a.m. - B&E but no theft. Police received a report that a dentist's office in the medical complex at Andrieux and Second Street West had been broken into during the previous night. A rock was found in an examination room, apparently used to smash an office window, where glass shards littered the floor. Cabinet doors had been opened but no drugs were taken, a cash box was overlooked and nothing seemed to be missing.
6 p.m. - But we locked the car. Two women left their purses in plain view inside a locked Jeep Cherokee in the parking lot at the Overlook Trail. When they returned from their hike, they found a driver's side window was smashed and both purses were gone. No record of the value of the loss was available.