Local 'frequent flier' credited with grand slam
Some Sonoma police officers have referred to it as a "grand slam," baseball parlance for scoring four runs by hitting a bases-loaded homer.
The honor goes to a 29-year-old Sonoma transient with an appetite for alcohol and a penchant for landing in police custody when he drinks.
That happened four times between April 22 and April 28, a record even some of Sonoma's veteran "frequent flyers" would have trouble matching.
The first arrest came at the Plaza bus stop at about 7:45 p.m. when the man had fallen into a drunken stupor on the bus from Santa Rosa and the driver couldn't rouse him.
Police were summoned, determined the man was obviously drunk, had trouble walking unassisted, and was on probation with a no-alcohol clause that he had thoroughly violated.
He was arrested for being drunk in public and for violating his probation and received a return trip to Santa Rosa where he was booked into the county jail.
The very next day, April 23, a Sonoma police officer spotted the man in the parking lot of the Maxwell Village Shopping Center, knew he was on probation, and made contact. The man was once again intoxicated, blew a preliminary blood alcohol level of .09 on a portable tester, was once again charged with violating his probation and was again driven to the county jail.
Four days later, on April 27, the man scored a hat trick when police got a call around 3:15 p.m. about an intoxicated subject at the Safeway store. They found their man nearby in the Exchange Bank parking lot with several bags of groceries, a bit of an attitude and two fifths of alcohol stuffed in the pockets of his baggie jeans.
Police determined that the man had purchased the groceries with a Golden State Advantage Card, the electronic iteration of food stamps, which cannot be used to buy alcohol. It therefore became apparent that the booze - a bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label Scotch and a bottle of brut champagne - had not been paid for.
Safeway did not choose to press charges for the theft, so police arrested the man, again, for public intoxication and probation violation.
Delivered to the Sonoma County jail, the man was told that the non-perishable groceries he purchased would be held for him there until his release.
The next day, at about 10:30 a.m., he showed up in the Sonoma Police Department lobby asking for his groceries. Police explained that, as he had been told the night before, the groceries would be held at the jail. In the course of the conversation, however, police began to suspect that he had already been drinking, since they could easily smell alcohol on his breath. After a blood alcohol screening revealed a level of .058, he was yet again charged with violating his probation, received his fourth arrest of the week and another complimentary trip to the county jail, where his groceries awaited.
Police acknowledge they find the merry-go-round frequency of the man's drinking-related arrests frustrating, as well as the proclivity of the courts to quickly release him. "We're just going to keep doing our job," said Sonoma police Sgt. Spencer Crum. "If the criminal justice system keeps letting them out, that's on them."
In other incidents reported to local law enforcement:
Saturday, April 23:
10:25 p.m. - "It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop." A 28-year-old Boyes Springs woman returning home from a celebration of her fourth wedding anniversary, with her husband in the passenger seat, drew some unwanted attention for an unnecessary stop and ended up with an unwelcome citation from a Sonoma police officer. The woman was driving westbound on Napa Street when she stopped at an unoccupied crosswalk even though there was no stop sign there and no one was crossing the street.
The officer noticed the erratic behavior, followed the woman's Subaru for a while and finally pulled her over in the vicinity of East Verano Avenue. Making contact with the woman he smelled alcohol, asked how much she had had to drink and was told, just two glasses of wine.
The officer was skeptical, put her through the usual field sobriety tests, which she failed, and then asked her permission to administer a preliminary breath test. She refused. The husband, who police said appeared to be less road-worthy than his wife, was not pleased with the intervention. Police took the woman to Sonoma Valley Hospital for a blood test and she was then released after being charged with a DUI.
11:34 p.m. - Assault with a deadly fingernail. Two couples from Tucson, Ariz., were renting a vacation house on East MacArthur Street while they did a little wine tasting. OK, maybe a lot of wine tasting. On their way back to the house one of the women, whom police described as "very drunk," got angry with the way one of the men was driving and an argument migrated into the vacation home where, according to the boyfriend who called police, the woman got violent.
When police arrived they found the boyfriend with a five-inch scratch on his face, allegedly inflicted by the girlfriend's fingernail. He refused medical attention.
Police arrested the 29-year-old woman on a charge of domestic assault and booked her into the county jail.
Monday, April 25:
11:50 a.m. - When push comes to punch. A case of classroom taunting crossed the line into an old fashioned duke-out at Sonoma Valley High School after one student was shoved and threw a punch in return that flattened the other boy's nose. When the school safety officer was called to the classroom, he found a 17-year-old holding towel over his nose and requesting an ice pack. The teacher said he didn't see how the fight began but looked up to find the two throwing punches at each other along with a variety of words beginning with the letter 'F'.
Both the 17-year-old, and his 15-year-old opponent, were cited for battery on school grounds.
12:35 p.m. - How much? For one tire? One thing that helps a 2002 Chevy Corvette handle like it's on rails is the quality of tire serious 'Vette owners put on their cars. In the case of a Sonoma man, who kept that particular Corvette parked in a secure, underground parking lot, the cost of a 315/40ZR19 Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar, max Performance Summer tire, is $595. That's for one tire.
Whether or not the price was a consideration in someone's mind, isn't known, but during the night of April 24 someone stuck a knife in that tire and ruined it.
The owner told police the garage is locked and he had no idea who would have slashed his tire, or why.