A Rohnert Park man wanted by police for the past year as a suspect in a fatal car crash that killed one of his brothers and injured another was in custody Tuesday.
Emmanuel Sanchez-Martinez, 27, was recognized while at a fast food restaurant despite attempting to disguise his looks, according to Rohnert Park police. He had put on weight and grown out his hair into corn rows and had a long beard, said Sgt. Aaron Johnson. The man also carried a fake identification card with a new name.
It would have been easy for officers to walk right by the man and not recognize him as the suspected driver they had been seeking, Johnson said.
But while eating Friday at a Burger King in Sebastopol, someone called Sebastopol police with an anonymous tip. The caller said a man in the restaurant was wanted in connection with a fatal crash.
The incident occurred about 10:30 p.m. on July 28, 2013.
Rohnert Park officers were called to Southwest Boulevard where they found a wrecked Chevrolet Tahoe and a busted water hydrant spewing a torrent of water. They also found Edgar Sanchez-Martinez, 27, who was dead near the wrecked vehicle. His brother, Jose Sanchez, was found nearby, alive but injured.
The driver had run.
Officers determined the man behind the wheel was their brother, Emmanuel Sanchez-Martinez. A felony arrest warrant was issued for the suspect, who had no criminal history.
Hours before the crash police had been called to an Anson Avenue home due to an argument between the three brothers.
Later in the night, the dispute flared up. The unlicensed suspect began driving away from the home in the SUV, which was owned by one of his brothers, according to police.
The brothers attempted to stop him. They jumped onto the moving vehicle, standing on the running boards and hanging on, unable to get inside, police said.
Jose Sanchez was on the driver’s side and Edgar Sanchez-Martinez was on the passenger side.
The vehicle sped along Southwest Boulevard for about a half-mile, going well over 50 mph with the two men clinging to the outside.
When the driver lost control, the vehicle hit a curb. It smashed into a brick wall, crushing the one brother and killing him instantly. The other brother was thrown about 50 feet.
On Friday, after getting the tip, Sebastopol officers went to the restaurant and determined the man was the wanted suspect. They detained him for Rohnert Park officers, who arrested Sanchez-Martinez on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, hit and run causing death and being an unlicensed driver at the time. His bail is $750,000.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org.