Petaluma man arrested on DUI charges after head-on crash into police car

Neighbors call police about a swerving driver, officers respond, only to have man take off, then hit a fence, police vehicle.|

A Petaluma man was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated Thursday after he crashed into the back fence of a Petaluma home and then rammed his pickup truck head-on into an officer’s patrol car, police said.

Bernardo Perez, 51, was booked into the Sonoma County Jail after the crash, which occurred just after 1 p.m. on Maria Drive near Meadow Elementary School, Petaluma Police Lt. Tim Lyons said.

The city’s officers came in contact with Perez after receiving a report of a man whose car was swerving on the road and who had stopped to urinate near Maria Drive and Rolling Hill Drive.

The man, identified by police as Perez, then drove off in his 2006 pickup when an officer on a motorcycle responding to the call knocked on his window.

Two additional officers responded and followed Perez south on Maria Drive past Sonoma Mountain Parkway, where Perez lost control of his truck and struck a fence.

The truck ended up facing the opposite direction after the crash and Perez accelerated as the two patrol cars approached him, striking one head-on.

The officer in the second car, realizing that Perez still had his foot on the gas pedal, then used his vehicle to hit Perez’s truck and block his path.

“We just didn’t know what this guy was going to do,” Lyons said.

Perez was taken to a hospital for cuts on his face and was later cleared to be booked into the Sonoma County Jail for a felony DUI charge, as well as felony evading a police officer, assault with a deadly weapon and violation of probation, Lyons said.

The officer whose patrol car was hit by Perez’s pickup was also taken to a local hospital by ambulance with moderate injuries, though he was released later Thursday afternoon, Lyons said.

Perez is due in court Monday, the Sonoma County Jail inmate logs show. Perez’s arrest on Thursday was the fifth time he’s been arrested on suspicion of DUI since 2007, Lyons said.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or On Twitter @nashellytweets.

Nashelly Chavez

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The Press Democrat 

Who calls the North Bay home and how do their backgrounds, socioeconomic status and other factors shape their experiences? What cultures, traditions and religions are celebrated where we live? These are the questions that drive me as I cover diversity, equity and inclusion in Sonoma County and beyond.   


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