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Two injured in sideshow at Santa Rosa shopping center parking lot

Santa Rosa police broke up a large sideshow in the Santa Rosa Marketplace parking lot Friday night that left two people injured.

Two girls under the age of 18 were struck by a white Ford Mustang spinning “doughnuts” in the shopping center parking lot, police said. One of the girls suffered minor injuries while the other was taken to a local hospital and treated for nonlife-threatening injuries.

The driver of the Mustang, Sergio Eduardo Vargas, 21, of Santa Rosa was arrested after he attempted to flee the lot near Highway 101, police said. Vargas was booked in jail on suspicion of a hit and run, reckless driving and having an outstanding warrant.

Officers located the sideshow at around 11:15 p.m. and found a large crowd watching drivers street racing and performing other dangerous maneuvers, police said.

Sgt. Patricia Seffens said the officers were part of a “sideshow enforcement operation” in response to increasing community complaints about the illicit car demonstrations.

Seffens described the operation as a special effort in which “a certain number of officers (are assigned) to enforce traffic violations in relation to sideshows.”

Police arrested two additional drivers on suspicion of reckless driving and other crimes. Seth Ostram, 40, was booked in jail on suspicion of reckless driving, child endangerment and violation of probation. A 21-year-old Santa Rosa man was released with a citation for alleged reckless driving.

Officers cited other drivers for various vehicle code violations. Seffens did not immediately have information on how many citations were issued or on how many people were at the sideshow.

Another man, Jose Roberto Alejo, 26, of Vallejo, was arrested and booked on suspicion of carrying and concealing a loaded semiautomatic handgun, as well as possession of a controlled substance.

You can reach Staff Writer Ethan Varian at ethan.varian@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5412. On Twitter @ethanvarian

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