Alleged DUI incident yields violent, but nonfatal, crash near Cotati

A 19-year-old Sebastopol man faces DUI charges after crossing the center line of Sonoma County road and crashing head-on into a vehicle driven by a Novato woman. CHP officers at the scene allegedly found a hypodermic needle in the man’s truck and concluded that the man appeared to be under the influence of drugs.
On Dec. 11, Ben Rhoades was traveling south on Stony Point Road just past Sierra Avenue when his Ford F-250 pickup truck crossed over the double-yellow line, and slammed head on into a Ford Edge driven by 46-year-old Vicki Siefer. The crash occurred around 8:30 a.m. according to CHP Officer Jon Sloat. Officer Sloat also indicated that the impact overturned Siefer’s vehicle, with the Edge ultimately landing on its roof. Rhoades’ truck landed on its right side.
Both Rhoades and Siefer were extricated from their vehicles by the Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District and were taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. Siefer was later flown to Stanford Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, including broken bones and internal injuries. Rhoades also suffered broken bones and internal injuries, but both drivers were expected to survive, according to the CHP. By that afternoon, the hospital reported that Rhoades was in fair condition, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
The collision closed Stony Point Road for approximately 90 minutes. Rancho Adobe Battalion Chief Steve Davidson called the removal of Siefer “one of the most complicated extrication efforts Rancho Adobe firefighters have faced.” The woman’s body was partially outside her vehicle, but her legs remained trapped inside the SUV. Firefighters had to cut away parts of the vehicle to access her legs and untangle them from the wreckage. The process took around 45 minutes, Davidson told the Press Democrat. Firefighters cut through the windshield of Rhoades’ truck to reach him, taking approximately one half-hour.DUI Equals Handcuffs
Rhoades was arrested for DUI at the hospital. According to KSRO 1350, officers discovered a hypodermic needle in the teen’s truck and concluded that he “showed signs of drug impairment.”
Rhoades’ arrest comes on the heels of a 17-year-old San Marin driver’s arrest last month for driving drunk and crashing an SUV with five classmates inside. California law sets a virtual “zero tolerance” policy for drivers under 21 driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, with a BAC of only .01 potentially enough to trigger a DUI charge.
The facts, as reported by KSRO and the Press Democrat, don’t look good for this young driver. However, sometimes the full story is more complicated than reporters can access immediately after an incident, and the full story in a DUI case, especially one involving drug-based DUI, may be more ambiguous than it first seems. That is why, if you or a loved one faces DUI charges, you should consult a competent Sonoma County DUI attorney. Our experienced Santa Rosa DUI attorneys are familiar with the law, and these types of cases, and are well-versed at getting to the bottom of all the facts and helping you present the best defense possible.


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