A disabled man was clinging to life Monday after being ejected from a careening, skidding car in Rohnert Park during a high-speed drunken driving crash, police officials said.
But instead of coming to the badly injured passenger’s aid, his friends appeared to be loading the man into a wheelchair and trying to flee when an off-duty officer spotted the scene about 2 a.m. on Golf Course Drive, according to Rohnert Park police.
Driver William Kammerer, 27, of Santa Rosa, was booked into the Sonoma County Jail on $100,000 bail on suspicion of felony drunken driving causing injury and making criminal threats, Commander Aaron Johnson said.
While in an ambulance en route to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Kammerer told the paramedics he was a gang member and would kill them if they didn’t let him go, Johnson said. He had minor injuries and was treated at the hospital before being booked into jail.
Police declined to identify his passenger, a Southern California man with several outstanding criminal warrants for his arrest out of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.
Johnson said Kammerer’s passenger was paraplegic from a previous injury and sustained potentially life-threatening injuries in Monday’s crash, including a fractured neck, head injuries, punctured lung and a broken leg. Officials were waiting to get a better sense of his condition from Memorial Hospital staff before identifying him, he said.
Hospital staff indicated the man may have died at the scene had the officer not seen the crash and intervened, Johnson said.
The men had just left the Graton casino in a 2004 BMW, with friends following in another car. They were speeding east on Golf Course Drive going at least 60 mph and Kammerer lost control as he entered a left-hand curve near Country Club Drive, according to crash scene investigators.
Kammerer hit the brakes, the wheels locked up and the BMW began skidding and spinning, traveling about 200 feet before hitting a curb, Johnson said.
The front wheels snapped off and the vehicle traveled another 230 feet or so across the grass until it stopped on the Country Club Drive sidewalk, police said.
Witnesses said one or both men were ejected from the car. Johnson said it doesn’t appear either man wore a seatbelt.
You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 707-521-5220 or email@example.com. On Twitter @jjpressdem.