A DUI suspect trying to drive away early Sunday near state Highway 9 in Santa Cruz County dragged a sheriff’s deputy about 250 feet down a street before crashing the vehicle, sheriff’s officials said. At 12:41 a.m. Sunday, Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputies noticed the driver of a white Honda sedan fail to make a complete stop at the intersection of Highway 9 and state Highway 236, sheriff’s Sgt. Kelly Kent said.
The driver then accelerated to a high rate of speed and deputies pursed the Honda before stopping it at West Lomond and Pine streets in unincorporated Ben Lomond, Kent said. The only person inside the Honda was Don Mitchell, 28, a resident of Soquel whom deputies reported appeared to be intoxicated and had empty alcoholic beverage bottles on the car’s floorboard, deputies said.
When informed he was being investigated for DUI, Mitchell became uncooperative and struggled with deputies who tried to prevent him from driving away, according to Kent. The suspect then turned on his car’s engine and began to drive forward with one of the deputies still partially inside and dragged the deputy on the ground about 250 feet down a street, Kent said.
Mitchell then allegedly steered the Honda toward some parked cars to knock the deputy off, but the deputy was able to free himself from the speeding car, according to deputies. Mitchell then crashed his car a short distance away, was taken into custody and later transported to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose to be treated for injuries from the crash, deputies said.
After his release from medical treatment, deputies took him to the Santa Cruz County Jail in Santa Cruz, where they booked him on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, battery against a police officer, obstructing a police officer and violating his probation, Kent said. Mitchell’s bail was set at $25,000, according to the sheriff’s office. The 29-year-old deputy allegedly dragged by the suspect was taken to Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz and was treated and released, deputies said. The deputy’s clothing and duty gear were damaged during the incident, Kent said.
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