Oakland Carjacking Leads to Petaluma DUI Injury Accident Arrest

Although the celebrations of the New Year have passed, Petaluma police remain very busy with impaired drivers. A Hayward man faces Petaluma DUI and a variety of charges after he allegedly stole a car in Oakland, drove drunk and injured an 81-year-old Petaluma woman in a hit-and-run accident, KCBS TV reported. Police have also arrested a Petaluma man for allegedly driving under the influence of drugs, crashing into multiple parked cars along the way KGO TV reported.

car-crash-treeIn the morning hours of Jan. 19, police responded to a hit-and-run accident in Petaluma. At the scene, officers found that the vehicle had struck an 81-year-old Petaluma woman. Emergency workers rushed her to the hospital, where doctors treated her for serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. Police, meanwhile, continued searching for the vehicle, which was last reported seen in the eastern part of Petaluma, heading toward U.S. Highway 101. Officers located the vehicle’s front license plate, which detached in the crash. The license plate matched the registration of a vehicle stolen in a carjacking in Oakland earlier that morning. An hour and a half later, parking officers spotted the vehicle in downtown Petaluma. Police officers stopped the vehicle and arrested the driver.
The driver was 28-year-old Raul Velazquez. Officers arrested the man on suspicion of carjacking, driving a stolen vehicle, felony DUI, felony hit-and-run and on an outstanding arrest warrant for a prior theft. He was placed in Sonoma County Jail without bail.
In a less injurious case, in the late night hours of Jan. 16, an eyewitness spotted a vehicle traveling erratically and crashing into parked cars in Petaluma. The witness saw a Volkswagen Passat crash into two parked, unoccupied vehicles. After the witness alerted authorities, police located the car and made a traffic stop. After making the traffic stop, police determined that the driver, 56-year-old Kevin Odea, was operating under the influence of drugs. Authorities transported Odea to the Petaluma Valley Hospital. Police also arrested the man for multiple DUI hit-and-run charges.
In each of the Velazquez and the Odea cases, the drivers may possibly face aggravated DUI charges. Several elements may serve, under California law, as aggravating factors for a DUI charge. These factors include reckless driving, having a blood alcohol content above 0.15 percent, having with a minor in the car, speeding substantially over the speed limit, causing bodily injury or property damage, fleeing from the scene of a DUI stop or sobriety checkpoint, refusing to submit to a blood or breathalyzer test or driving on a revoked or suspended driver’s license.
Each DUI case is unique, and is fraught with unique challenges. The state has a variety of options regarding how it charges a person accused of driving while impaired, and how it sentences someone, if convicted. If you are accused of DUI, contact a knowledgeable Sonoma County DUI attorney. Our diligent Petaluma and Santa Rosa DUI attorneys have years of defending DUI cases before the Sonoma County courts, and are keenly familiar with all available options. Our attorneys are here to help you develop a plan that works for you.


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