A Santa Rosa police officer who signed up to work security at a high school dance could not have imagined the evening ending like this, and the teenage young man and his friends could have made things a lot easier on themselves as well.
Last Saturday night, October 10, Santa Rosa’s Maria Carillo High School was holding their homecoming dance on campus. Just outside the gym, where the dance was going on, and beyond the outdoor basketball courts and athletic field, is Rincon Valley Community Park. Ricardo Gonzalez, 19 and not a student at Carillo High, was there at the park with two friends. He had parked a dark colored Ford Expedition, likely his parents’ car, on Rick Drive, which runs on the other side of Rincon Park and in that residential neighborhood.
At around 11 pm, Gonzalez became involved in a fight with some other people, including his two friends. Carillo High students attending the dance saw the brawl going on, and alerted teachers and staff. One of them yelled at the fighters to stop, and chased Gonzalez and his friends away, while another staff member alerted the Santa Rosa Police officer who was working the dance.
Gonzalez and his friends fled to the Expedition and took off, nearly hitting one of the school staffers who had chased them. Meanwhile the officer had gotten to his squad car, and drove down Montecito Blvd. from the school to the neighborhood, turning right on Baird Road, and right again on Rick Drive. It was there he saw the Expedition coming toward him fast, with the light out. He swerved into the opposite lane, avoiding a collision, while Gonzalez struck a parked car, sending it 40 feet across driveways and the sidewalk, and rolling the Expedition over.
Gonzalez and one of his friends jumped out and made a run for it, but the officer caught Gonzalez before he could get away. The friend, however did escape. The third party, however, was not so lucky. The young man left in the car was injured in the crash, and was taken to Memorial Hospital for treatment. The 17-year-old was not identified due to his age.
Ricardo Gonzalez was arrested for felony hit and run, and resisting arrest. And assuming the Ford Expedition is his parents’ vehicle, he faces their wrath as well, since he and his friends could have no doubt driven quietly away and cooperated if stopped, facing perhaps a disorderly conduct charge at worst.