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Wild drive through Rohnert Park ends in man's DUI arrest, jail

Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 7:48 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 10:58 a.m.

A Rohnert Park driver suspected of toppling a streetlight and skidding through yards and across sidewalks during a terrifying drive that only ended when he crashed into a tree was arrested Wednesday, Rohnert Park police said.

Daniel Willin, 20, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.35 percent according to an initial test, seven times the limit of 0.05 percent set for people under the legal drinking age, Sgt. Aaron Johnson said.

Willin remained in custody Thursday at the Sonoma County Jail on $5,000 bail on suspicion of drunken driving and hit-and-run, jail staff said.

Calls to 911 began pouring into emergency dispatchers at 5:44 p.m. Wednesday, first reporting a car careening around a corner from Commerce Boulevard onto Avram Avenue, missing the turn and crashing into a streetlight, which was severed at the base, Johnson said.

The car ended up in a parking lot and then sped over grass and headed toward an apartment building, apparently speeding toward first-floor bedrooms but turning away just in time, Johnson said.

Willin then drove through a neighbor's front yard "where children usually are playing, however today were inside, and began to bounce off the parked cars on the street," Johnson said in a statement.

Willin then left the sidewalk and began driving on the street, heading about a half-mile to Seed Farm Drive, where the car slid sideways and then wove between the sidewalk and the street at least three times, Johnson said.

The 911 calls kept coming as Willin's car left skid marks, car parts and a half-mile oil slick behind him, Johnson said.

Witnesses told police the car appeared to be traveling at about 60 mph in the 25 mph zone.

Willin then vaulted down an embankment off Seed Farm Drive and hit a tree at an estimated 53 mph, Johnson said.

"This is after he lost speed from hitting the curb three times and sliding his car as he was trying to steer down the road," Johnson said, noting that no bystanders were hurt. "Angels were watching over our community today -- everywhere this guy went."

Willin was treated for minor injuries and significant intoxication at a hospital before he was booked into jail, Johnson said.

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

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