General Crime

Petaluma Police Chase Man Driving Through Backyards, Crashing Into Motel Before Being Captured

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A Petaluma man led Rohnert Park police on a chase where he drove through lawns, fences, and a motel room before being arrested this morning, a police sergeant said. Matthew Knope, 45, was arrested after leading police on a chase through the city ending when he crashed his vehicle into a motel and was captured soon thereafter, Sgt. Aaron Johnson said. The chase began after police received a report that a landscape trailer had been stolen from the Walmart at 4625 Redwood Drive at 8 a.m., Johnson said. Officers then received a report of a white truck with a landscape trailer in a nearby parking lot driving recklessly. At 8:25 a.m., police began receiving 911 calls from residential areas reporting the same white truck driving recklessly through the streets, Johnson said. Among the streets the truck was spotted on were Santa Dorotea Circle, Santa Cruz Way, and Emily Avenue.

The truck also hit several cars and went down a creek path. The truck was again spotted at 8:29 a.m. by an unmarked police car on Emily Avenue and equipment had begun falling out of the trailer, including an industrial mower, Johnson said. During the pursuit, Knope drove the truck onto San Rafael Court, drove through the backyard of one of the homes and plowed through two others before coming out on the adjacent San Francisco Court, Johnson said. Knope swerved to try to hit a motorcycle officer before coming out onto Rohnert Park Expressway, where he reached speeds between 60 and 65 mph. He drove down the expressway until he reached the Budget Inn at 6298 Redwood Drive, pulled into the parking lot and began to do laps, Johnson said. Knope drove onto the median, the lawn, and hit two parked cars in the parking lot. He then drove onto the sidewalk and rammed into one of the motel’s rooms, Johnson said.

Knope got out of the car and fled on foot but was captured soon thereafter by police at 8:43 a.m. Police said there was an indication Knope was under the influence of drugs. Knope was booked on possession of stolen property, felony evasion, assault on a police officer, assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest, and violation of probation, Johnson said. No injuries were reported.

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