Silver BMW leads cops on 26-mile car chase

A Petaluma man was arrested after allegedly leading police on a long car chase out of Petaluma and into Marin County Friday evening, Petaluma police said.

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Around 7:05 p.m., an officer was in the 500 block of Seventh Street in Petaluma searching for a vehicle and suspect involved in an assault. While searching the area, the officer spotted a silver BMW, which he believed was the suspected vehicle and driver, police said.

Before the officer could stop the car, the driver left the area. The officer drove after the car to stop him, but the driver didn’t yield and a car chase began, police said.

The driver was allegedly blowing past stop signs and speeding as he headed west through Petaluma. He continued out of the city on D Street, police said. During the pursuit, which lasted 26 miles, speeds reached up to 85 mph, police said.

The car chase ended in the 9400 block of Marshall Petaluma Road in the unincorporated Marin County town of Marshall, when the driver stopped and got out of the car and allegedly ran away on foot, police said. Officers from nearby jurisdictions, including the Sonoma and Marin County Sheriff’s offices and the California Highway Patrol, came to help with the search.

At midnight the search was called off. This morning at around 8 a.m. a Marin County sheriff’s deputy found the suspect, who was the registered owner of the vehicle, police said. The suspect was found in the 9400 block of Marshall Petaluma Road in Marshall where he allegedly had been hiding in a creek bed, police said.

The driver, identified as Brian Bakalar, 45, was arrested on suspicion of felony evasion and on an outstanding felony warrant out of Sonoma County. He was booked into Sonoma County Jail, police said.