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Weather, DUIs Kept Sonoma County CHP Officers Very Busy Over Weekend

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
Editor's Note: California Highway Patrol's Santa Rosa Area department released the following announcement.

Weather related collisions and conditions, as well as DUI drivers kept Santa Rosa Area CHP officers busy throughout the weekend. Officers responded to multiple flood incidents as well as 115 traffic collision Saturday and Sunday. The most serious occurred at 2 a.m. Sunday.

Arben Gogaj, 25, of Vallejo, was driving a Toyota Corolla westbound on Bodega Ave. outside of Petaluma. Gogaj attempted to pass another vehicle over the double yellow lines. Gogaj entered the eastbound lane directly in the path of an oncoming Ford Windstar van driven by Allen Assefa, 62, of Santa Rosa. The vehicles struck head on at approximately 55 mph. Gogaj was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries including multiple broken bones and lacerations. Assefa was transported to Memorial with moderate injuries. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor. Bodega Ave. was blocked for approximately an hour. 

While emergency personnel were working at this crash scene, a CHP sergeant was parked with his patrol vehicle lights in the eastbound lane of Bodega Ave. to stop traffic. The Sergeant observed a Toyota Tacoma drive over the double yellow lines and proceed eastbound in the westbound lane, passing the patrol car. The sergeant immediately activated the patrol car’s siren and got the truck to stop.

He contacted the driver who was identified as Armando Mendoza, 31, of Petaluma. Mendoza displayed signs of intoxication and failed field sobriety tests. A records check revealed that Mendoza’s license was suspended earlier this month for failing to appear on multiple traffic violations. Mendoza was booked on charges of DUI and driving while suspended. 

At approximately 2:55 a.m. Sunday, officers responded to a call of a vehicle blocking Olivet Rd. at Piner Rd. Upon arrival officers found a Nissan Altima that was facing east in the southbound lane of Olivet, with it’s two rear tires in a ditch. Officers contacted the driver, who was identified as David Ridenhour, 48, of Guerneville. Ridenhour displayed signs of intoxication and was unable to perform field sobriety tests. A records check revealed that Ridenhour is on probation and his license is suspended. Ridenhour was booked on charges of DUI, driving while suspended and violation of probation.

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