Santa Rosa driver arrested on DUI charge after crashing near checkpoint

Police arrested a Santa Rosa man Friday night for drunk driving after he crashed his vehicle into a power pole and struck a parked motorcycle just west of where police were conducting a DUI checkpoint.

Ronald LaFranchi, 48, was not injured during the 11 p.m. collision, which occurred near the parking lot of Adel's Restaurant on College Avenue. Damage to the electrical pole and lines knocked out power to the area for hours. Adel's was without power until 6 a.m. this morning, according to restaurant staff.

LaFranchi was driving eastbound on College, in the opposite direction of the checkpoint at Morgan Street. He was one of two drivers arrested for DUI during the checkpoint Friday night.

The other DUI arrest was made at the checkpoint. Nicole Aymard, 18, of Santa Rosa drove into the checkpoint about 5 minutes before LaFranchi crashed his car. Aymard was booked into Sonoma County Jail.

Police said 839 drivers passed through the checkpoint and had contact with police. Of these, 33 were directed into a nearby parking lot for further assessment. Drivers were evaluated for possible DUI and driver's license violations.

Fourteen drivers were given field sobriety tests. Eight drivers were cited for driving without a license or driving with a suspended license and eight vehicles were towed on a 30-day impound because their drivers either did not have a valid driver's license or had a suspended license.

One person was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

Police also arrested a Santa Cruz man for possession for sales and transportation of a controlled substance.

Richard Whitehead, 22, drove through the checkpoint at about 9 p.m. Police said that during their initial contact with Whitehead, officers detected the odor of marijuana inside his vehicle. Police said they found Lysergic Acid, or LSD, during their search.

The aim of the checkpoint was to inform drivers of the dangers and consequences of driving while intoxicated. Funding for the checkpoint was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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