The driver suspected in the fatal hit and run that killed a man early Saturday morning near Rohnert Park turned himself in to authorities on Monday, the CHP said.
John Mesker, 33, of Santa Rosa showed up at the CHP’s Rohnert Park office at about 3 p.m. with his attorney and turned himself in, CHP officer Jon Sloat said.
“He refused to make a statement,” Sloat said, adding it’s a felony to leave the scene of an accident when someone dies.
“We will still continue to try to determine what happened that night,” Sloat added.
Authorities have sought to question Mesker since the Saturday afternoon incident, when he was identified as the driver who struck and killed 21-year-old Basilio Nathan Garza Jr.
Garza, who was walking on the side of Petaluma Hill Road when he was hit, is from Novato but was living in the Santa Rosa area with friends or relatives, according to the CHP. His body was found in the roadway just north of Hunter Lane and Snyder Lane around 4:15 a.m. Saturday by a motorist, the CHP said.
It was as yet unclear whether either man was impaired at the time of the accident. According to police accounts, Garza was in a car with friends, had an argument, got out and decided to walk.
It was not clear, Sloat said, which side of the road he was walking on or where he was hit, or which man, if either, were at fault in the accident.
Sloat said Mesker was driving a Toyota sedan southbound on Petaluma Hill Road when he struck Garza.
When the CHP reported the accident Saturday, officials asked the public to be on the lookout for a vehicle with front-end damage consistent with hitting a pedestrian.
Hours later, a Rohnert Park resident alerted authorities to a suspicious vehicle parked in front of her home on Holly Avenue, just off Snyder Lane a few miles from the accident scene, the CHP said.
The Toyota sedan reportedly belonged to a relative of Mesker’s. It has been impounded as evidence.
Sloat said that Mesker was driving on a suspended license because of a “current criminal matter.”
According to court records, Mesker was arrested at least twice in the last three months and was convicted of felony possession of a stun gun during an April 5 arrest by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.
On June 29, the Sonoma Police Department arrested Mesker on suspicion of driving under the influence, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and providing a false registration. A trial on those charges is scheduled to begin Aug. 8 in Sonoma County Superior Court.
You can reach Staff Writer Elizabeth M. Cosin at 521-5276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.