Rohnert Park man leads sheriff’s deputy on high-speed chase

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A 29-year-old convicted felon led authorities on a high-speed chase through Rohnert Park on Thursday that ended in his arrest on suspicion of multiple felony charges, officials said.

In an attempt to serve a drug-related search warrant to Rohnert Park resident Paul Gebhardt, a Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop in the Raley’s Market parking lot on Commerce Boulevard on Thursday afternoon. Gebhardt sped away from the deputy and headed east on Rohnert Park Expressway around 1 p.m., leading the deputy on a chase, the Sheriff’s Office said in a prepared statement.

Hitting speeds over 90 mph, Gebhardt’s silver Honda eventually hit a curb, then a mailbox at the intersection of State Farm Drive and Classic Court. As he turned to go north on Commerce Boulevard, authorities said Gebhardt tossed a loaded AR-15-style rifle wrapped in a plaid shirt out of a window before his car gave out.

Gebhardt then fled on foot west under Highway 101 towards the Good Nite Inn. Deputies then deployed a 2-year-old canine from the patrol vehicle and warned Gebhardt to stop running. The dog Mako ran after Gebhardt when he did not stop fleeing from authorities.

Gebhardt was bitten on the foot and arm and arrested shortly thereafter, authorities said.

A search of Gebhardt’s car revealed a purported cache of cash, heroin, methamphetamine, prescription medications and a loaded handgun under the driver’s seat, authorities said in the statement. Gebhardt wasn’t permitted to possess firearms since he was a previously convicted on drug-related crimes, according to the statement.

The suspect was booked into the Sonoma County Jail Thursday on felony weapons charges, suspicion of possession of narcotics for sale and of a controlled substance while armed, allegedly evading and resisting arrest. Gebhardt was released from custody late Thursday after posting a $50,000 bond. Authorities said he had been convicted of felony narcotics charges in 2015 and weapons charges in 2011.

You can reach Staff Writer Alexandria Bordas at 707-521-5337 or alexandria.bordas@pressdemocrat.com.

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