Vodka-Brandishing St. Helena Driver Arrested After Chase and Crash in Napa

The Napa County Sheriff's Office gives us an official account of Wednesday's spectacular pursuit of a motorist who allegedly was spinning donuts, driving head-on at police officers and waving a bottle of booze before he crashed his vehicle in

A 50-year-old St. Helena man faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon, DUI, and driving without a license after a police chase Wednesday afternoon in which he drove recklessly and at times directly toward pursuing officers, according to a news release from the Napa County Sheriff's Office:

On Sept. 19, 2012 at about 2:50 pm, an off-duty deputy, Deputy Rochester, saw a green sedan travelling northbound on SR29, in the dirt median.

The sedan swerved left into a turn out, directly towards a parked truck. The sedan barely missed the truck and then spun a donut.

The deputy had stopped about 50 yards away and was calling in the reckless driver.

The sedan then drove directly towards the deputy (in his personal truck), then spun another donut and took off northbound on Soscol Ferry Road.

The sedan continued its reckless driving, repeatedly crossing into the oncoming lane towards other vehicles throughout the corporate park area, flipping off other cars, while waving around a large bottle of Vodka.

Two Napa Sheriff’s vehicles were in the area and attempted to stop the vehicle. 

Eventually, the sedan made it to SR221, where it continued crossing the median into oncoming traffic, running red lights, and making u-turns.

Most of the time the vehicle was travelling at about 25 MPH. As the sedan continued northbound on SR221, a Napa Police Department motor unit stopped in the left turn lane of SR221 (south of Kennedy Golf Course) to fall in behind the pursuit.

The sedan swerved across into the oncoming lane, directly towards the motor officer. The officer had to take evasive action to avoid being struck, and then joined the pursuit.

Eventually, the suspect turned into the KFC parking lot on Soscol at Imola Avenue.

The sedan swerved directly into a small truck pulling a trailer, striking and overturning the trailer. The suspect’s sedan sustained major damage and was no longer drivable.

The driver of the sedan, Timothy Case – 50 years old of St Helena, had a small cut to his forehead and was transported by ambulance to Queen of the Valley Hospital.  While at the hospital, Case said he intentionally tried to run over the motor officer and hit the trailer on purpose.

Case was medically cleared, then booked into the Napa County Department of Corrections for four (4) counts of assault with a deadly weapon, DUI, and driving without  a license.

The California Highway Patrol, Napa Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office are all investigating various parts of this incident.

Source: Napa County Sheriff's Capt. Tracey Stuart

Click the "Keep Me Posted" button below for automatic updates on this story. Arrest information does not indicate a conviction.

For the latest reports on crime and arrests in Napa, please see our Police & Fire section, available from the News tab above and at napa.patch.com/police-fire.

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Antoine M September 21, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Newb legal question: What makes it an assault with a deadly weapon? Is it the car bc people get killed by those all the time and I never hear "deadly weapon" mentioned.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) September 21, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Antoine, as I understand it, vehicles are now considered deadly weapons under the law when they are proved to have been used as such with intent to hurt or kill. A retired firefighter I spoke with today observed that the motorist is lucky he wasn't shot, for that very reason, that he was believed to have been using his vehicle as a weapon. Does this explanation make sense? I'm no expert.


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