A Graton man suspected of drunken driving early Sunday morning lost control of a Ford Explorer, struck four people standing on the sidewalk in front of a Santa Rosa pizzeria and drove off on three-wheels before he was found hiding in bushes a few blocks away, police said.
Jose Gil Ortiz-Ortiz, 18, now faces felony drunk driving and hit-and-run charges after the 1:48 a.m. incident outside NY Pie on the northwest corner of Brookwood Avenue and Fourth Street, Santa Rosa police said in an statement.
Ortiz-Ortiz was traveling south on Brookwood Avenue when he hit the curb, struck the pedestrians and leveled a “No Parking” sign on a steel pole, losing the rear right wheel in the process, authorities said.
The driver drove off but abandoned the damaged vehicle two blocks later, police said. Officers, with the help of a police dog, found Ortiz-Ortiz hiding in the bushes near a Second Street business.
A Redcom dispatcher said three people were transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital after two were hit by the Explorer and another by its errant wheel. The SUV struck four people in total, Santa Rosa police said.
The victims suffered “significant” injuries, but none was considered life-threatening, police said.
Ortiz-Ortiz also was taken to the hospital as a precaution but later arrested, police said.
Traces of the hit-and-run were visible outside the pizzeria later Sunday. The SUV had scraped its path into the concrete sidewalk, bent an intact street sign at a 90-degree angle from its base and a left a small chunk of rim on the curb.
You can reach Staff Writer Eloísa Ruano González at 707-521-5458 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @eloisanews.