PETALUMA – At approximately 7 pm on Friday evening, a Petaluma Police Officer was patrolling the 500 block of 7th Street looking for a suspect vehicle that had been involved in an earlier assault investigation. The officer saw the silver BMW, which he believed to be that of the assault suspect.
Before the officer could contact the driver, the suspect vehicle began to leave the vicinity. The officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop for a violation when the driver failed to yield. A pursuit then ensued. The driver of the suspect vehicle failed to stop for multiple posted stop signs and exceeded speed limits travelling westbound through Petaluma.
The driver continued to recklessly flee from the pursuing officer, and left Petaluma city limits on D Street. In the course of the pursuit it was determined that the registered owner had an outstanding felony warrant for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The pursuit then escalated to include officers from multiple jurisdictions. Sonoma County Sherriff’s Deputies, Marin County Sheriff’s Deputies, and CHP Officers assisted Petaluma officers in the pursuit and search for the suspect.
It was determined that the suspect reached speeds of 85 mph in fleeing authorities. The pursuit continued for 26 miles, heading west towards the coast. The suspect vehicle was discovered abandoned on a property in the 9400 block of Marshall Petaluma Road, a rural 2 lane road that winds through the hills approaching the small coastal community of Marshall. The search was then called off at midnight.
At approximately 8 am a Marin County Sheriff’s Deputy located the suspect on the property near where the vehicle had been abandoned. The suspect had been hiding in a creek bed.
He was identified as 45-year-old Brian Bakalar, a resident of Petaluma. Bakalar faces charges of felony reckless evading and an outstanding felony warrant. He was arrested and booked into custody at Sonoma County Jail.