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Wild drive through Rohnert Park ends in suspected car thief's arrest

Police says a suspect ultimately crashed a stolen landscaping truck and trailer into the Budget Inn on Redwood Drive in Rohnert Park on Monday, May 6, 2013.

COURTESY OF JOHN DELP
Published: Monday, May 6, 2013 at 12:35 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 6, 2013 at 12:35 p.m.

A 45-year-old Petaluma man was taken into custody Monday morning after a lengthy chase through Rohnert Park during which police said he rammed a stolen landscaping truck and trailer through backyards and fences and finally was stopped at a motel.

Police arrested Matthew Knope on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, hit and run, evading police and possession of stolen property, namely the white pickup truck and the trailer.

The chase lasted nearly 15 minutes, during which Knope drove onto three residential properties, “just wiping through fences and driving through back yards ... all the while still towing the landscape trailer,” said Rohnert Park Police Sgt. Aaron Johnson.

About 8 a.m. Monday, Rohnert Park police received a report of the theft of a white pickup and green landscape trailer from the Walmart parking lot on Redwood Drive. Soon they received more calls of a similar truck and trailer being recklessly driven through neighborhoods on the east side of the city.

At 8:29 on Emily Avenue, officers located the truck, towing a trailer lined with red leaf rakes and green garden hoses. The driver refused to pull over and instead crashed through the front and back yards of properties around San Francisco Court, Johnson said.

At San Rafael Court, Johnson said Knope “came after me in the truck.” The sergeant, who was riding a police motorcycle, said he evaded being struck by the truck.

The driver headed west on Rohnert Park Expressway, dragging beneath the truck a large recycle can he had run over on San Francisco Court, Johnson said, At times the truck was traveling 60 miles per hour.

Knope drove to the Budget Inn on Redwood Drive. The truck struck two other vehicles, jumped a curb and came to rest touching the wall of room 504.

Officers arrested Knope and took him to a hospital for evaluation. “Our suspicion is that he may be under the influence of a controlled substance,” said Johnson.

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