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Santa Rosa man struck by car while being arrested on Highway 101

Published: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 2:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 2:52 p.m.

A 53-year-old Santa Rosa man who was hit by a car after he walked onto Highway 101 in Windsor was in critical condition Wednesday at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

Dewayne Higgins was in handcuffs and seated on the front bumper of a CHP patrol car when the officer turned his attention to two other people at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and Higgins then walked onto the highway, Sonoma County Sheriff's Lt. Steve Brown said.

He walked into the path of a motorist who was heading home with his family after a Christmas celebration. The driver was not impaired by alcohol, Brown said.

Higgins had a blood-alcohol content of 0.36 percent, more than four times the legal limit of 0.08, Brown said.

Higgins was being arrested on suspicion of threatening to kill his girlfriend and assaulting her, Brown said.

Before his arrest, Higgins and his girlfriend, also 53 and from Santa Rosa, were in a car driven by her 28-year-old son when they started to fight, Brown said. Higgins apparently started punching the son, who then pulled over near the southbound Shiloh Road off-ramp.

The CHP officer saw the parked car with its doors open, stopped to investigate and said he saw Higgins drag the woman out of the car and throw her to the ground, Brown said.

But when he put Higgins in handcuffs and sat him on the front bumper, the girlfriend and her son started yelling and walking toward him, and the officer ordered them to get back into the car, Brown said.

During the exchange, Higgins walked into the road and was hit, suffering major injuries including several broken bones, Brown said.

Although extensive, the injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, Brown said. Deputies have not yet been able to interview Higgins.

After he is treated for his injuries, Higgins will be arrested on suspicion of domestic battery and making terrorist threats, Brown said.

CHP officers are investigating the crash as "an intentional act with possible prosecution," Officer Jon Sloat said.

Sloat declined to identify the officer and the driver until investigators piece together why Higgins entered the road and if it was a criminal act.

The driver and his family were not injured in the collision, he said.

(You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220, julie.johnson@pressdemocrat.com or on Twitter @jjpressdem.)

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