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Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
Tuesday January 14th, 2020 :: 01:42 p.m. PST


Novato man leads deputies on a high-speed chase

It was a very busy weekend for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. On January 11, Jesse Watson, 34 years old, from Novato lead deputies on a 20 mile long high speed pursuit.
The incident unfolded at approximately 8:20 pm, when a deputy was dispatched to the 500 block of Ivy Court for suspicious people inside a white Chevrolet Malibu. The driver, later identified as Watson, got out of the car and spoke with the deputy. Suddenly, Watson ran to the Malibu and sped away northbound on Heather Lane. The deputy was notified from dispatch that the license plate had been reported stolen. The deputy started chasing him through county and city streets and onto Highway 37.
Deputies pursued Watson onto westbound Highway 37, where he passed several cars on the right hand shoulder. Watson arrived at the Highway 101 interchange and took northbound Highway 101. Watson slammed his brakes at the on ramp. Watson was positioning his car to drive southbound in the northbound lane. A second deputy in the pursuit, fearing someone may be seriously injured or killed because of a wrong way driver, conducted a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) on Watson’s car. The technique causes the fleeing vehicle to stop abruptly. The PIT was not effective. Deputies cancelled the pursuit because Watson’s dangerous driving behavior was putting the public in danger. Watson then drove southbound along the shoulder of Highway 101 northbound and caused another car to crash. The driver and passenger received minor injuries as they hit a metering light to avoid a head on collision with Watson.
Deputies at the scene then learned that Marin County deputies had pursued Watson two other times and he had warrants.
Deputies and detectives spent the weekend looking for Watson and found him in the 24000 block of Arnold Drive, Sonoma. Watson was arrested last night at approximately 9:00 PM and booked into the Sonoma County jail. Watson is being charged with resisting arrest, possession of burglary tools, possession of drug paraphernalia, felony arrest warrant for violation of probation, felony evading, possession of stolen property, probation violation and driving a vehicle on the wrong side of the roadway during a pursuit. Watson is being held without bail because of his probation warrant and hold. 
The Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to ensuring that people who commit violent crimes in our community are located and arrested for those crimes in the safest manner.  Occasionally, the suspects disregard the public safety for their own gain. In those cases, it is up to the Sheriff’s Office to stop them while keeping the safety of our community first.  While this pursuit was lengthy, it was necessary to stop and arrest a person who has shown his intention to endanger the public. We thank those who were in the area of this pursuit for your cooperation and safe driving as peace officers worked to resolve this problem.
Prepared by Sergeant Juan Valencia, Public Information Officer
Case No: 200111-023
Media Inquiries: (707) 565-3941

Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
2796 Ventura Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 707-565-2650

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