February 22, 2006

Lodi Police Cite 236 Drivers, Tow 21 Cars today as part of

“Stop in the Name of Safety” Campaign


Details:  As part of the ongoing “Stop in the Name of Safety” enforcement initiative, a task force of 15 Lodi police officers hit the streets today to enforce stop sign related traffic violations.  Officers cited 236 motorists for violations of the California Vehicle Code, 186 of them for failure to stop as required or right of way violations.  In addition, 20 drivers were found to be driving unlicensed or on a suspended license, and their vehicles were impounded for periods ranging up to 30 days.


Officers also made seven arrests, one of them after a brief pursuit.  The pursuit occurred when Officer Roger Butterfield attempted to pull over Derek Walrath, a 43 resident of Hayward, who was driving his girlfriend’s 1997 Chevy Malibu at Vine and Central.  Walrath fled, leading officers on a one mile chase at relatively low speeds that ended in an alley near Garfield and Harold.  Walrath was arrested at gunpoint, and was booked into city jail on charges of evading a peace officer, driving on a suspended license, and running a stop sign.  He was also wanted on a domestic violence restraining order warrant.


Another arrest made by task force officers involved a hit and run collision that occurred at Daisy and Church.  A black Dodge pickup pulled out from a stop sign and was broadsided by a southbound vehicle on Church St.  The Dodge fled the scene, and when witnesses reported the license plate to police dispatch, it was learned that the truck was stolen out of Sacramento. Corporal Val Chaban began tracking the suspect vehicle with the aid of witnesses in the neighborhood and found it disabled at Forrest and Lincoln.  Residents there gave a description of the female driver who had abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot. Alicia Escamilla, a 20 year old Sacramento woman was found in a nearby park and arrested for auto theft, driving without a license, and failure to yield right of way.  She was booked into city jail.  Escamilla was also charged with possession of stolen property when a purse stolen during a Sacramento auto burglary was found in the truck.


PIO Contact: Lt. William Barry at 209-329-2966 or wbarry@pd.lodi.gov


“This was a very productive day,” said Lt. Bill Barry of the LPD Traffic Unit.  “Our officers worked very hard to reinforce the message that a full stop is required at every stop sign.  Stop sign related collisions are responsible a disproportionately large number of deaths and injuries on our city streets.  We are committed to reducing this trend through enforcement and education.”    The “Stop in the Name of Safety” Campaign will continue through February 28th and will be an annual event.