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Sonoma County courthouse sting nets unlicensed drivers

Police conducting an undercover sting at the Sonoma County Courthouse Wednesday arrested four men they said drove away from court despite having suspended drivers licenses — three of which were the result of DUI charges.

Officers from various agencies staked out the courthouse and watched defendants who were appearing in court on suspicion of drunken driving, being an unlicensed driver or driving on a suspended license.

If an improperly licensed driver got behind the wheel of a vehicle and drove away, they were apprehended by motorcycle officers waiting nearby, Petaluma Sgt. Ken Savano said.

The operation was part of a high-intensity enforcement period local police are conducting through Jan. 2. The operation targets dangerous drivers, including those driving drunk or without proper licensing.

Arrested Wednesday were:

Christopher Charles Clark, 46, of Rohnert Park. He was stopped after driving away with a suspended license from a previous DUI and a suspended license case where he failed to appear, Savano said.

Pablo Pena, 41, of Boyes Hot Springs. He was stopped after driving away on a suspended license following two DUIs, Savano said.

Brian Otto Schmidt, 45, of Sonoma drove away with a suspended license after three DUIs. Savano said he was appearing in court for two pending suspended license violations.

Charles Kevin Duncan, 26, of Willits. He was stopped after driving away on a license that was suspended for failing to appear in court for the same offense.

All four men were issued citations and their vehicles were impounded for 30 days.

— Lori A. Carter


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