A police pursuit on Highway 12 Tuesday night ended with a violent crash as a DUI suspect’s sedan was sliced in half after smashing into two other vehicles, Sebastopol police reported.
The crash caused minor injuries to three people, including driver Tristram Scott West, 28, who was treated and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Driving as fast as 100 mph with a Sebastopol officer in pursuit, West headed out of Sebastopol, passing traffic illegally on the two-lane highway until he reached stopped traffic at Llano Road, Sebastopol Sgt. Greg DeVore said Wednesday.
Attempting to get around the traffic, West entered the intersection as another driver was turning on the green light. West’s Honda clipped that Chevrolet Impala and then was hit broadside by a Volvo.
The impact sent the Honda spinning off of the roadway and into two parts, separating between the front and back seats.
Firefighters and officers responding to the crash found the halved car and a debris field of metal and plastic stretching more than 300 feet.
West was still sitting in the driver’s seat.
Volvo driver Gavin Merczakdinolfo was trapped in his car and freed by Santa Rosa firefighters.
Impala driver Brianna McAlvain, 19, of Sebastopol and the other two drivers were taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital reportedly with minor injuries.
Sgt. DeVore said the 9:30 p.m. pursuit started after Sebastopol Officer David Edney pulled over the Honda driver, after seeing him speeding east and dangerously changing lanes.
Edney pulled the driver over at a Highway 12 gas station and could smell alcohol on the driver. The officer was checking his computer for the man’s record when West drove off.
In the ensuing chase, the officer reached speeds of up to 90 mph in an attempt to catch West, who was pulling away as they headed toward Santa Rosa. The officer said the Honda driver was speeding past traffic in the center turn lane prior to reaching Llano Road.
West was arrested on suspicion of felony drunken driving and felony evading police. His bail was set at $100,000.
The highway was closed between Llano and Irwin Lane until 12:30 a.m.
(You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)