Citizens of Eureka had a good reason for concern when they saw a 2008 Toyota 4Runner driving on the wrong side of the road, hitting a sign pole, and threatening the safety of others on Monday morning. Witnesses suspected the driver of the vehicle might be under the influence of drugs or experiencing a medical issue. Numerous calls were made to the police department.
While some citizens were calling the police, others tried to get the driver to stop, but their attempts were unsuccessful. By the time the officers arrived, the Toyota was driving very slowly and an officer stopped his car and activated his emergency lights several yards in front of the dangerous vehicle. This did not stop the driver, later identified as Tanner Nutt, 22, of Arcata, who continued driving until he hit the patrol car.
After the vehicle was stopped, the officers tried contacting Nutt, who locked himself in the car and refused to get out. For the sake of safety, the officers broke the driver’s side window and opened the door. They were finally able to remove Nutt, who was very aggressive, from his vehicle and detained him after he was placed on the ground. The officers concluded that Nutt was under the influence of heroin and other medication and he was taken to the hospital for treatment for the minor injuries he received from the broken glass before being booked into the Humboldt County Jail.
Further investigation and witness reports revealed that Nutt has been speeding northbound on Broadway in the center turn lane before he veered into the southbound lanes and onto the north sidewalk colliding with a sign post. After hitting the post, Nutt continued driving on the wrong side of the road and sideswiped a vehicle after failing to stop at the red light at Wabash. This still did not stop Nutt, who still continued driving and almost hit two pedestrians who had to jump out of the way as he drove up the north sidewalk. Nutt finally slowed down later as he began to drive northbound on the wrong side of Broadway until he collided with the patrol car. Thankfully no one was injured.
Nutt is charged for driving under influence and hit and run and in currently held in the Humboldt County Jail. He will also be charged for possession of medications without a prescription, driving on the wrong side of the road, driving on the sidewalk, and failure to stop for a red light.
Eureka Police Department thanks the citizens who notified the police of the incident and remained at the scene to provide a statement. Anyone who has witnessed the incident or has more information is encouraged to contact Senior Traffic Officer Gary Whitmer at (707) 441-4232.
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