A 20-year-old Santa Rosa man wanted on gang and weapons charges led police on a chase through the heart of the city early Sunday before authorities stopped him by forcing a crash that sent his silver Chevy Monte Carlo spinning.
"Those cops, they never got off his butt. It was pretty cool ... This guy was just drifting. It was just like watching the World's Wildest Police Chases right outside my house," said Josh Vendrick, who watched the whole thing from his Fourth Street apartment.
Police used what is called a PIT, or Pursuit Intervention Technique, to finally stop the suspect after leading Officer Brett Siwy. and later other officers, on a fast chase along some of the city's main streets near downtown.
The incident began about 1:16 a.m. when Siwy attempted to stop Jose Rafael Castillo at Ashbury and Lee streets on a traffic violation, Sgt. Lisa Banayat said in a release. Castillo took off when Siwy flashed his lights.
He raced along Brookwood Avenue, Pierce Street, Fourth Street, 13th Street and McDonald Avenue at speeds up to 50 miles per hour, ignoring stop signs and red lights.
"Officers continued pursing him and ultimately used a Pursuit Intervention Technique to stop the suspect in the 1200 block of College Avenue," Banayat reported. "The suspect vehicle changed direction and rammed Officer Siwy's patrol vehicle head on. Another patrol vehicle was used to block the suspect's door to prevent his escape."
Castillo, a documented gang participant, was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries and booked into the Sonoma County Jail on numerous charges, including felony evading a police officer, assault with a deadly weapon and warrants for gang and weapons charges and obstructing an officer.