Bay City News

Man Arrested on Attempted Murder in Petaluma After Police Chase

A King City man was arrested Saturday on suspicion of several felonies, including attempted murder, after he allegedly drove his van into his ex-girlfriend at 30 mph, Petaluma police said Sunday.

Gerardo Hernandez, 24, had led police on a mile-long vehicle chase and then on a foot chase before being arrested near the East Washington Place Shopping Center just of U.S. Highway 101, Petaluma police said.

Police were called about 3 p.m. Saturday by a witness who reported that a maroon GMC van had just struck two people in the SMART Train parking lot off of East Washington Street. Police pursued the van for about a mile on city streets; the van ran several stop signs and collided with another vehicle along the way. The driver got out near the East Washington Place Shopping Center, and was subdued after a short chase.

The maroon van's license plate had already been tied to a domestic violence and assault with a deadly weapons case in Petaluma the previous day, police said.

The two people struck by the maroon van -- Hernandez's ex-girlfriend and a male companion - were taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, police said. A witness told police the maroon van slammed into the two people at an estimated 30 mph.

Police said a witness told them they saw Hernandez assaulting the same ex-girlfriend at a house in Petaluma on Friday using a knife, causing a small laceration to her hand. Hernandez also tried strangling the woman with the strap of her purse. Hernandez fled the house before police arrived.

Hernandez was booked into Sonoma County Jail Saturday on suspicion of attempted murder (two counts), felony DUI causing injury, felony evasion of a peace officer, resisting arrest, assault with a deadly weapon and felony domestic violence. His bail was set at $1 million.

Petaluma police continue to investigate this case. Anyone who witnessed the incident in the SMART Train parking lot is urged to call Det. Pat Gerke at (707) 778-4444.

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