Friday, January 27, 2023

Driver Suspected of Yesterday’s Hit and Run Spree in Willits ‘Blew Almost Four Times the Legal Limit for DUI’

The suspect vehicle smoking in the middle of Main Street moments after the collision that ended the pursuit. [Picture provided a bystander who watched the scene unfold]

Yesterday afternoon, a Covelo man by the name of Jared Reed Thomason allegedly was found passed out in his vehicle and when law enforcement caught up with him, he attempted to evade officers. His failed getaway resulted in six hit-and-run crashes and finally a head-on collision with another driver causing moderate injury. Willits Police Chief Fabian Lizarraga told us Thomason “blew almost four times the legal limit for DUI” when he was breathalyzed and “we are fortunate that no one suffered more serious injuries.”

Chief Lizarraga told us law enforcement was initially contacted regarding “a car stopped on Main Street and the driver passed out” near the intersection of Main Street and San Francisco Avenue. By the time Willits Police Department officers arrived, Thomason had “driven off”, but “we caught up to him” near California Street and Penn Street.”

Once officers located Thomason and the vehicle, they pursued his vehicle with “lights and siren.” Thomason is alleged to have “refused to yield and was driving very erratically, swerving from side to side on residential streets.” 

First responders on scene on the series of traffic collisions [Provided by a Mendocino County resident who saw the incident]

In a matter of moments, Thomason “entered the Safeway parking lot” where he “hit two cars that were parked, kept going, and struck three cars at the gas pump as he tried to thread his way through them,” Chief Lizarraga told us.

Chief Lizarraga said Thomason struck a FedEx truck before exiting the Safeway parking lot southbound on Main Street. Then, the Chief said, he proceeded to swerve into the northbound lane when he struck a vehicle head-on causing that vehicle to be pushed back into another going northbound. 

The driver of the vehicle struck head-on, Chief Lizarraga explained, “was transported to the hospital with complaints of chest pain.”

After blowing nearly four times the legal limit for DUI, Chief Lizarraga said Thomason stands accused of several charges. Those charges, as per the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Booking Logs, include felony evasion of a police officer, felony hit and run resulting in death or injury, misdemeanor driving without a license, and two misdemeanors associated with driving with elevated levels of alcohol.

Reflecting on the incident, Chief Lizarraga was thankful the situation did not result in more injuries or damage and said there were “just a lot of traumatized drivers who were minding their own business when this guy came through.”

With due respect to the victims of the circumstances described, it must be stated that the charges described have not been proven in a court of law. In accordance with the legal principle of the presumption of innocence, any individual described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

UPDATE 2:48 p.m.: The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Booking Log, sometimes taking time to upload mugshots of suspects, has finally made an image of Jared Reed Thomason public:

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  1. When lunatics run the asylum… you get exorbitant insurance rates due to …
    … a pandemic of irresponsibility.
    … renegade federal agencies like the NHTSA who mandate a half dozen airbags that cost thousands to replace if they detonate.
    … idiot carmakers who build cars with $1,500 headlight assemblies.

  2. My family was getting gas when the guy rammed into both of our cars. It has been a nightmare. Both vehicles are in the shop and we are paying for his mistake. luckily we ran out of the way when his car approched and are safe. That is more important than fixing cars.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a journalist for the everyman. Journalism has become a craft practiced largely by the urban elite. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at if you know a story that needs to be told.

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