Sonoma County ended its 17-day driving under the influence enforcement campaign with fewer DUI-related crashes and arrests than last year. Thirteen law enforcement agencies throughout the county came together to crack down on DUI drivers as part of their Avoid the 13 campaign, said Petaluma Police Department spokesman Ken Savano. DUI crashes were down 25 percent this holiday period with six crashes, 126 DUI arrests and no fatalities, he said. Of the 126 DUI drivers apprehended, 30 were arrested during the Christmas holiday weekend and 21 were arrested during New Year’s weekend. During the same campaign last year, Sonoma County’s Avoid the 13 taskforce arrested 201 DUI drivers, Savano said. Among those arrested this year was five-time DUI offender Aurelio Garcia Lopez, of Petaluma, Savano said. Lopez, 40, was recently released from prison for a felony hit-and-run in September 2008. Upon his parole, Lopez was deported to Mexico and told he would be subject to arrest if he re-entered the U.S., Savano said. Santa Rosa officers at a DUI checkpoint on Old Redwood Highway in Cotati allegedly watched as Lopez’s Ford Aerostar minivan stopped in the middle of a traffic lane, Savano said. Officers said Lopez climbed across the passenger seat and exited
the car, leaving it stranded in the middle of the road. When the officers attempted to contact Lopez he tossed his car keys and took off running, Savano said. The officers chased him. They apprehended Lopez, who was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and resisting arrest, Savano said. He was booked at the Sonoma County jail.
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