We all run late at times for appointments, work, weddings, our kids’ sports events and more. But driving 100 mph to get to them?

Twice in the past week, local officers pulled over drivers going 100 mph or more, and both motorists explained that they were running late to an event for their kids. And both ended up missing those events; they went to jail.

Last Friday, CHP Officer Marcus Hawkins was southbound on Highway 101 in Rohnert Park when a Toyota 4Runner flew by at 90 mph, in the construction zone yet. As Hawkins tried to catch up to it, the driver sped up to 100 mph, passing  other cars on the right shoulder, the CHP reported.

The driver pulled off 101 at Highway 116 and stopped for Hawkins. Katherine Russell, 34, of Rohnert Park told him she was speeding to get to her child’s birthday party. Instead, she was arrested on suspicion of DUI and other charges, the CHP said.

Last Saturday, Petaluma Police Officer Ron Klein was keeping an eye on traffic on Lakeville Highway near Pine View Way when a Nissan Altima zipped by at 104 mph,  crossing the double yellow lines and passing vehicles by going into the oncoming lane, police said. Klein revved up his police motorcycle and sped off in pursuit, taking nearly three miles to catch up and stop the driver.

The driver, Juan Carlos Gallegos, 41, of Petaluma, was taking his 9-year-old son and a 9-year-old friend to a soccer game in Davis but was running late, police reported.

“I knew he was going fast because I could hear the engine and we were passing other cars,” one of the boys told police.

Gallegos was arrested on suspicion of reckless driving and child endangerment.

CHP Officer Jon Sloat, the spokesman for the Sonoma County CHP office, said officers hear the excuse of running late all the time when stopping speeders. Many of them appear to be telling the truth, he said. But not all of them.

He recalled pulling a woman over for speeding who said she was rushing to a hospital to see her grandmother who had been taken to the emergency room. Sloat said he told her to drive on to the hospital and he would follow to ensure everything was OK. But once at the hospital, he said, the woman admitted, as he suspected, that she had made the story up. She got a ticket.

Sloat said the two recent arrests are particularly disturbing because, as parents, they should know better — “we have enough bad examples out there.”


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