Officers pursued a driver Sunday morning who failed to stop for a traffic break in the unincorporated community of Geyserville and nearly struck a California Highway Patrol officer. The pursuit turned to prolonged standoff, forcing closure of U.S. Highway 101.
The CHP had temporarily stopped traffic around 6:20 a.m. to allow for PG&E line work when the driver of a white Honda Civic drove around the closure and came close to hitting an officer. A chase ensued southbound on Highway 101 with the Honda exceeding 100 mph at times before being stopped by a spike strip at Shiloh Road. The car came to a stop just north of River Road, south of the Sonoma County airport.
The highway was closed to traffic in both directions, but the driver refused to exit the Honda and a long standoff followed. Negotiators with Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office were unable to convince the man to come out and the Sonoma County SWAT team was called in.
SWAT personnel determined the man was alone in the Honda and used “non-lethal methods” to remove him from the car, the CHP said in a release.
The driver, 56-year-old Eric Van Gelder of Geyserville, was taken to Sutter Hospital for medical clearance.
He will be charged with evading police, driving under the influence of drugs and delaying/resisting arrest, the CHP said. The CHP said that while the standoff was on the southbound side of Highway 101, both directions were closed “for the safety of the public and personnel on scene.”
Northbound lanes reopened at 9:18 a.m. and southbound lanes reopened at 9:31 a.m.