SANTA ROSA – A vehicle being driven in the dark without illuminated taillights caused a CHP officer to pull over a woman who tried to use her brother’s name to avoid arrest.
On Sunday around 7 p.m., California Highway Patrolman Crandon Kopriva stopped a Dodge Charger heading southbound Highway 101 at Baker Avenue in Santa Rosa because the taillights were not on. The driver identified herself as Walter Bernard, and confessed that she did not have a driver’s license.
When the officer checked Bernard’s records he discovered an outstanding $22,000 warrant for the man. Kopriva arrested Bernard and transported him to the Sonoma County jail.
While in the jail, “Walter Bernard” was revealed actually to be his sister, Kymberlei Derice Bernard, 32, of Santa Rosa, who was a felony parolee at large with an outstanding no-bail warrant. Bernard confessed that she had used her brother’s name because she knew she was wanted.
“The driver’s appearance was such that she could get away with using a male name,” explained Officer Kopriva.
Kymberlei Bernard was booked on the outstanding warrant, driving while suspended, false impersonation to avoid prosecution, and providing false information to a police officer.
The holiday weekend resulted in two additional driving arrests.
Late Sunday afternoon, Melinda Sue Strasser, 52, of Santa Rosa overturned her Ford Explorer, landing on the shoulder of Millbrae Avenue at Arlington Avenue in Santa Rosa. The report of a solo vehicle crash brought CHP Officer Josh Phillips to the scene, where he learned that Strasser was on probation and had a suspended license for a prior drunk-driving conviction, five separate suspensions and two DUI convictions outside of California.
Strasser was booked on charges of driving under the influence of drugs, driving while suspended, and violation of probation.
A vehicle light malfunction also brought a GMC Yukon to CHP officers’ attention and led to the discovery of a bag of methamphetamine.
CHP officers Cyril Ruffin and Patrick Naves were on Cleveland Avenue near Industrial Avenue in Santa Rosa around 12:23 a.m. Saturday, when they stopped a GMC Yukon for not having a functioning license plate light.
As Officer Ruffin asked the driver for identification, he immediately smelled alcohol on the man’s breath. A records check revealed that the driver, Ignacio Palacios Galvez, 24, of Petaluma, had a suspended license, two prior convictions for DUI, and three prior convictions for driving while unlicensed. Galvez was placed under arrest and the vehicle was impounded.
“During a routine inventory of the GMC, a bag of methamphetamine was located,” said Sgt. Robert Moto of the CHP, Santa Rosa Area. “Galvez was charged with violation of probation, possession of methamphetamine, and driving while suspended.”