Police Beat: Underage DUI and a tussle at Sonoma’s Best

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On Friday, Jan. 25, at 10:42 p.m., a deputy on patrol along Highway 12 in the Springs saw a Chevy sedan make a right-hand turn onto Highway 12 from Rancho Drive, headed southbound in the deputy’s direction. As the vehicle accelerated, the deputy heard a loud tire squeal, and the deputy noticed extensive front-end damage that appeared fresh, including a cracked windshield and no front license plate. When the vehicle passed, the deputy estimated the speed at 50 miles per hour in the 25-mph zone.

The deputy made a U-turn and followed the car, which then turned left onto Fetters, pulled into a driveway and parked. The driver, Marco Delacruz Guzman, 19, was stopped for speeding, a cracked front windscreen and no front license plate. But when he exited the vehicle Guzman fell to the ground, then staggered back to the deputy who noticed the smell of alcohol as well as other symptoms of intoxication.

A preliminary search found a 12-ounce can of beer in a jacket pocket and another can in the vehicle. An assisting officer was called and conducted field sobriety tests and a preliminary alcohol screening, or breathalyzer test which, due to Guzman being under the age of 21, he was unable to refuse.

The result of the test showed Guzman had a blood alcohol level of .236, about three times higher than the legal limit, though the number dropped to .21 when he was retested at the police station.

It turned out Guzman was on pre-trial release for battery and was not supposed to use alcohol per his probation terms, in addition to his status as a minor. Guzman was arrested for violation of probation, driving without a driver’s license, a minor in possession of alcohol, and driving under the influence as a minor, in addition to the vehicular infractions.

During the early afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 27, deputies were called to the scene of a reported dispute at Sonoma’s Best, near the intersection of 8th Street East and East Napa Street. Two male individuals were reportedly involved in a physical fight, and on arrival the deputy found that the victim of the altercation appeared to have sustained injury to his nose. He was uncooperative and refused to provide information about the suspect, however, saying he was fine and refusing transport to the hospital.

However an employee and a customer of the market who witnessed the incident said the suspect had attempted to strangle the victim with a golf club, and provided an identity. Sheriff’s deputies went to his house and arrested and booked Thomas E. Gordon, 44, for felony assault with a deadly weapon (not a firearm).

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