DUI suspect has prior for drunk flying

A Petaluma man who was convicted in 2012 of flying a plane while intoxicated was arrested Thursday evening on suspicion of driving under the influence, the California Highway Patrol said.

Michael Ferrero, 65, drove his Toyota Tundra into a ditch off Old Redwood Highway near Highland Avenue in Petaluma around 6:10 p.m., CHP Officer Jon Sloat said.

Ferrero told the officers he was coming from the Petaluma Airport and heading home when he went off the road. The responding CHP officer noted Ferrero appeared intoxicated, and after an investigation he was arrested for DUI, Sloat said.

The CHP officer found an open bottle of vodka in the truck and Ferrero was booked in the Sonoma County Jail for DUI, violating his probation and having an open container of alcohol in the truck, Sloat said.

Ferrero was on probation following his conviction in May 2012 for flying his plane while intoxicated. He was sentenced to four days in jail, three years’ probation, 30 days of home confinement and 26 days of volunteer service.

The blood-alcohol level considered intoxicated while flying is 0.04 percent and 0.08 percent when driving. The CHP was on routine patrol on state Highway 37 in Sonoma County on Jan. 3, 2012 when it spotted Ferrero’s plane flying recklessly.

The plane was flying as low as 50 feet above ground and within 100 feet of the highway, according to the CHP.

Officers smelled alcohol on Ferrero’s breath when he landed the plane at the Petaluma Airport. He was cited for flying under the influence after failing field sobriety tests, the CHP said.