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Suspect in fatal hit-and-run in Sonoma County arrested

fatal hit and run in Sonoma County near Santa Rosa

The CHP says a man suspected in a felony hit-and-run in Sonoma County turned himself in on Monday afternoon.

According to Officer Jonathan Sloat, 33-year-old John Mesker was accompanied by an attorney and did not make any statements when he turned himself in at the CHP's Rohnert Park office.

The California Highway Patrol believes Mesker, of Rohnert Park, was driving the 1998 Toyota Camry that struck and killed 21-year-old Basilio Nathan Garza Jr., of Santa Rosa, around 4:15 a.m. Saturday in the Penngrove area of Sonoma County.

The Toyota is registered to a female friend of Mesker's, Officer Sloat said.

According to CHP Officer Kerri Post, the female friend said Mesker had the car.

Garza was with friends but walked away from them before he was struck in the southbound lane of Petaluma Hill Road near Hunter Lane, Post said.

CHP officials said they believe the Toyota was heading south before the collision.

A Rohnert Park woman called the city's Department of Public Safety late Saturday morning to report a strange vehicle was parked in front of her Holly Avenue residence, CHP Sgt. Ross Ingels said. The car, later identified as the Camry, had hood and windshield damage consistent with a collision.

Holly Avenue is located off of Snyder Lane just south of Petaluma Hill Road where the hit-and-run occurred, Ingels said.

Sloat confirmed Mesker had several previous violations. Court records show he had felony convictions for theft and drugs and misdemeanor charges for drug and weapons possession and driving on a suspended license.

He pleaded no contest on June 25 to a misdemeanor charge of possession of a stun gun and was sentenced to two years' probation.

Mesker allegedly violated his probation when he was arrested on June 29 on misdemeanor charges of DUI, giving false vehicle registration information to police, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance, according to court records.

He pleaded not guilty on July 7 and his trial is scheduled for Aug. 8.

(ABC7 News contributed to this report)

Related Topics:
hit and runCHPinvestigationpedestrian struckcrimesonoma countySonomaSanta RosaRohnert Park
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