Habitual offender, 23 others arrested in Petaluma


According to police, at about 11:07 p.m. Amador Fernandez Hernandez, 33, passed through the checkpoint on westbound state Route 116, also known as Lakeville Highway, and failed to stop.

When officers flagged him down, they suspected he was intoxicated and began a DUI investigation. According to police, officers also discovered he had three prior DUI convictions, the most recent being from October 2009.

Police said that because Hernandez was on probation for a previous offense, he was required to drive only vehicles fitted with an ignition interlock device, a mechanism similar to a Breathalyzer that requires a driver to exhale into the device before starting the engine.

According to police, the vehicle he was driving had no such device because it belonged to a friend.

Hernandez was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level almost three times the legal limit, for violation of DUI probation and for driving on a suspended license.

He was booked at Sonoma County Jail.

Petaluma police netted a total of 24 traffic-related arrests, including two DUI arrests, during the checkpoint.

Officers screened slightly more than half of the 3,036 vehicles that passed through the checkpoint, with 48 drivers closely evaluated by police.

Police conducted the DUI and driver's license checkpoint on Lakeville Highway at South McDowell Boulevard from 4:30 p.m. Saturday to 1:00 a.m. Sunday.

Police arrested two drivers for DUI, four for driving on a suspended license, two for driving with expired licenses and six for driving without ever having been issued a license.

A total of 17 vehicles were towed, and 14 vehicles from unlicensed drivers or those with suspended licenses were impounded for 30 days, according to police.

Funding for the program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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