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Published on May 20, 2024
Petaluma Man Charged With Felony DUI After Car Chase Ends in Creek Escape AttemptSource: Petaluma Police Department

In the early hours of Sunday, May 19, Frank Powers Monachello, 40, instigated a gritty car chase and subsequent manhunt in Petaluma after slamming his vehicle into another and scrambling away from the wreckage. According to a report released by the Petaluma Police Department, the incident occurred on the 1500 block of E Washington St. at about 1:17 a.m. when Monachello's car collided with another due to what appeared to be unsafe and excessive speeds he was driving at.

After the crash, Monachello made a desperate run - Southbound, diving into a nearby creek in a futile attempt to shake off the law. Meanwhile, the responders from the Petaluma Police and Fire Departments were busily assessing the injured from the collision. This chaos unfolded as the authorities closed in on the DUI suspect, who, despite his efforts to hide, would soon face the consequences of his actions. An astute area resident tipped off the officers about a suspicious figure lurking in his backyard, prompting the officers, with the help of a Sonoma County Sheriff Department K-9, to narrow down the search and eventually fish Monachello out of his waterlogged hideout, where he surrendered without further resistance.

The suspect was promptly evaluated by paramedics for any injuries incurred during the flight and collision, displaying clear signs of alcohol intoxication. The police conducted a DUI investigation on-site. It was determined that Monachello had been driving under the influence at the time of the accident.

According to the Petaluma Police Department, Monachello now faces charges, including felony DUI and felony hit-and-run vehicle collision, on top of misdemeanor charges for reckless driving and resisting an officer. Following his arrest, he was hauled off to a local hospital for medical clearance before being booked into the Sonoma County Jail, where he awaited the hammer of justice. The police also extended their gratitude to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance, not to forget the residents whose vigilance played a critical role in snaring the runaway driver.