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Petaluma Police Department
Thursday July 21st, 2016 :: 08:29 p.m. PDT


Speeding DUI Driver Arrested After Pursuit on Lakeville Highway

For Immediate Release

Date:  Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Date and Time of Incident:             Wednesday, July 20, 2016, 5:59pm

Issued By:      Lieutenant Ken Savano, 707.778.4463,


Speeding DUI Driver Arrested After Pursuit on Lakeville Highway


Petaluma, California –While patrolling the area of Lakeville Highway near South McDowell Extension, Petaluma Police Officer Art Farinha observed a black 1998 Honda Civic bearing Washington license plates passing vehicles on the right shoulder at a high rate of speed.  He estimated the speed of the vehicle at more than 90mph.  The vehicle was headed EB and continued to pass vehicles on the right shoulder.  Officer Farinha activated his emergency lights and siren.  The driver slowed and came to a stop near Pine View Way.  As the officer stopped behind the vehicle, it sped off again.  A pursuit was initiated that reached speeds of more than 80mph EB on Lakeville Highway.  In the area of Cannon Lane, the driver threw what appeared to be a shiny metal object from his driver’s window to the shoulder on the east side of the roadway.

After approximately 7 miles, in the 7000 block of Lakeville Highway, the vehicle pulled over.  The driver, later identified as Justino Merino, age 35, from Petaluma, appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and or drugs.  The driver was detained in a high risk vehicle stop.  As the officer tried to place handcuffs on the driver he resisted arrest and fought the officers.  Due to his altered state and him fighting with officers, an ambulance was called as a precaution for his safety. 

Petaluma officers were assisted by officers from the California Highway Patrol Santa Rosa Area and their Helicopter, H32, out of Napa. 

Inside the vehicle, officers located a partially consumed twelve pack of Corona beer bottles and two open beer bottles that he appeared to be consuming while driving.   A search of the area near Cannon Lane revealed an empty liquor bottle.

He was transported to Petaluma Valley Hospital for medical clearance and then booked at Sonoma County Jail on charges of felony evading, reckless driving, resisting arrest, and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.   Bail was set at $30,000. 




Petaluma Police Department
969 Petaluma Blvd N
Petaluma, CA 94952

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 707-778-4372

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