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Santa Rosa man arrested on suspicion of car theft after police chase

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A suspected car thief was arrested after he tried to get away by driving onto the Joe Rodota Trail and later hiding in the Santa Rosa Creek.

A Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputy patrolling the 300 block of Sebastopol Road on Thursday spotted a gray Pontiac Vibe that had been reported stolen on Feb. 5.

The deputy saw a male sitting in the passenger seat of the Vibe when another man jumped into the driver’s seat and started driving east on Sebastopol Road.

The deputy followed the car and attempted to make a traffic stop, but the driver turned north on Roberts Avenue and then east onto the Joe Rodota Trail.

The driver, later identified Kirk Williams, Jr., 43, of Santa Rosa, drove the Vibe to the north end of the trail, where it meets the Santa Rosa creek. He stopped the car, got out, jumped a fence and began running northbound on the railroad tracks towards Third Street.

Sheriff’s deputies and Santa Rosa police officers set up a perimeter and within a few minutes found Williams hiding in the creek.

Williams was arrested and booked into Sonoma County Jail. He remained in custody on Friday on suspicion of car theft, possession of a stolen car, and failure to yield. He’s being held on $35,000 bail. His passenger was detained and later released.

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 707-521-5213 or martin.espinoza@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @pressreno.

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