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Teen Driver Arrested on DUI, Hit-and-Run Charges After Striking Pedestrians in Santa Rosa

An 18-year-old driver said to be driving under the influence of alcohol was arrested early Sunday after striking and injuring four pedestrians in Santa Rosa, according to police.

The four victims suffered "significant" injuries, but they are all expected to survive, police said. The driver, who has been identified as Jose Gil Ortiz-Ortiz of Graton, was arrested on felony DUI and felony hit-and-run charges.

Authorities were dispatched at roughly 1:48 a.m. to Fourth Street and Brookwood Avenue after witnesses reported that a Ford Explorer hit a number of pedestrians standing on a sidewalk outside of a restaurant, police said. Witnesses also stated that the driver fled southbound along Brookwood Avenue before hopping out of the car near the intersection of Brookwood Avenue and Second Street and fleeing on foot.

Arriving officers set up a perimeter around the abandoned vehicle and launched a search, according to police. Ortiz-Ortiz was later found hiding in bushes near a business along Second Street. He told officers that he was the person behind the wheel of the Explorer.

Police said it appears as though Ortiz-Ortiz lost control of the Explorer and drove onto the sidewalk, striking the four pedestrians.

While Ortiz-Ortiz was at the hospital, officers learned that he may have been driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident, according to police. A subsequent investigation revealed that he had indeed been driving under the influence.

An investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Jeff Adams of the Santa Rosa Police Department at 707-543-3636.

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