A Sonoma man who is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol crashed into a tree Tuesday night, crushing his vehicle so badly it took firefighters about an hour to free him.
Driver Charles Purdon, 50, was flown by CHP helicopter to Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa with major injuries. CHP officers also arrested Purdon on suspicion of drunken driving in the 7:15 p.m. crash on Carriger Road, west of Sonoma.
The crash, which occurred north of Craig Avenue, closed the Sonoma Valley road for about two hours for the difficult extrication and investigation, the CHP said.
Before the crash, someone had called 911 to report a Jeep driver in the area who could be drunk. At 7:16 p.m., officers and Sonoma Valley firefighters responded to a report of a car into a tree.
Purdon, who wasn’t wearing a seat belt, lost control and his 2011 Jeep Cherokee drove off the road and into the tree, the CHP said.
The front of the Jeep was crushed, trapping one of the man’s legs. Sonoma Valley firefighters, who arrived in five minutes, according to dispatch records, worked for about an hour to cut the mangled dash from the injured man.
Because the man wasn’t belted in, his injuries were extensive, CHP and fire officials said.
“It was a difficult extrication,” said Sonoma Valley Fire Division Chief Bob Norrbom, who helped with the effort. “His leg was entangled in the dash of his car. … We had to cut the car away from his leg to get him out.”