A Sonoma Valley deputy chose not to pursue a fleeing motorcyclist on Saturday evening, Dec. 29, out of concerns for the safety of bystanders. But the incident evolved into a family confrontation that resulted in two arrests and multiple felony charges, and the primary suspect remains in jail without bail.
The deputy was on routine patrol near Napa Road and Broadway, at about 5:20 p.m., when a motorcyclist passed him in the opposite direction going at a high rate of speed. The deputy recognized the driver from a previous encounter, when the motorcyclist had successfully fled a pursuit. The deputy turned around and caught up with the biker, who took off at speeds estimated over 100 mph when he realized he was being followed.
In the previous encounter, the deputy was able to ascertain an ID of the man and knew he was on probation, but didn’t have sufficient evidence to arrest him. But the ID provided an address for the suspect, so instead of engaging in a dangerous high-speed pursuit the deputy went to a family compound on Dale Avenue, off Burndale Avenue, and waited for the motorcyclist to arrive.
When he did, the suspect saw the deputy and took off into the property to evade being apprehended. The deputy followed on foot and when the motorcyclist came close, traveling at about 25 mph due to the terrain, the deputy jumped the bike and it crashed.
Other family members as well as three dogs – two large pit bulls and a German shepherd – became involved in the action trying to prevent an arrest. The deputy called for backup, including the K9 patrol from Sonoma Police, two on-duty sheriff deputies from southern Sonoma County, and the Henry 1 helicopter (which was not used), essentially engaging all on-duty resources in the area.
The deputy asked the family to restrain the dogs but they did not, and a 16-year-old female became physically involved in the altercation.
Finally supported by back-up, including the K9 patrol, the first deputy was able to arrest the suspect, 25-year-old Alexander S. Perez of Dale Avenue address, and the juvenile.
Perez was arrested and booked on felony evading a peace officer with wanton disregard for public safety, felony violation of parole (based on an earlier felony conviction), and misdemeanor charges including obstruction or resisting arrest, driving with a suspended license and another probation violation. Bail is set at $45,000 for the misdemeanor offenses, but no bail is allowed for the felonies so Perez remains in custody, with an initial court date set for Jan. 23.
The juvenile was arrested and booked on misdemeanor obstruction of a peace officer.
The initial responding deputy was slightly injured by one of the dogs during the altercation but was able to continue working through the rest of his shift.