The Sonora Police Department made two driving under the influence arrests on Friday, one of which included a Tuolumne County Behavioral Health employee arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence of methamphetamine.

At 12:59 p.m., the Sonora Police Department received a call from a concerned citizen who identified a silver Kia sedan with an exempted license plate driving erratically on Mono Way in Sonora, Sonora Police Department logs stated.

Sgt. Tim Wertz said the Sonora City Fire Department responded to a South Barretta Street apartment complex for a report of the same suspicious vehicle being operated by a woman who appeared to be under the influence, but the driver left the area while Sonora Police officers were en route.

Wertz said investigating officers were able to identify the operator of the vehicle based on the vehicle’s description and its registration to Behavioral Health. The officer contacted the woman’s superior, who notified the officer that the woman was still out in the field, but arranged for her to meet the officer in the parking lot of Rite Aid on Mono Way.

When the officer met the woman in the Rite Aid parking lot after 3 p.m., he determined that she was under the influence of the “central nervous stimulant” methamphetamine, Wertz said, and she was arrested.

Robin Carrie Ratcliff, 41, of Sonora, was arrested on suspicion of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a drug and booked into the Tuolumne County Jail.

Her bail was set at $5,000.

Tuolumne County Counsel Sarah Carrillo confirmed that Ratcliff was a Behavioral Health peer specialist and had been employed since Nov. 28, 2016.

A peer specialist is identified by a Tuolumne County employment document as someone who provides peer-to-peer monitoring, informing, assisting and empowerment guidance for Behavioral Health clients.

Ratcliff was also arrested in July 2010 for possession of a syringe loaded with methamphetamine, 5.3 grams of methamphetamine, a marijuana cigarette, and other paraphernalia after a traffic stop on Highway 108 and Lime Kiln Road.

Also on Friday, Sonora Police made another drunk driving arrest for a Sonora man who fell asleep in his vehicle while parked at the pumps at the Arco gas station on Pesce Way.
Another patron at the gas station called the Police Department to report the man asleep at the gas pumps. After being awakened by a patron, the man moved his vehicle to a parking spot in front of the AMPM convenience market and fell asleep in the back seat, Wertz said.

The later was contacted by an officer while in the parking spot and was subsequently arrested for DUI. The man had a blood alcohol content of 0.24, Wertz said.

Jesse James Rodrigues, 31, of Sonora, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence as well as multiple failure to appear charges related to a past DUI arrest, driving with a suspended license and probation violation.

Rodrigues was also arrested in Jamestown on July 22 for driving under the influence and for driving with a suspended license.

Rodrigues’ total bail was set at $55,000.

Drug paraphernalia citations issued to seven people at Sonora hotel

About 11 p.m. Saturday, a concerned citizen warned of heavy foot traffic going in and out of the Sonora Gold Lodge on Stockton Road, as well as a few people sitting in a white pickup truck “making a lot of noise,” Sonora Police Department logs stated.

Wertz said an officer visited the room suspected of involving “drug traffic” and identified drug paraphernalia in plain sight.

Of the eight occupants in the room, many were on searchable probation, Wertz said, and an additional sweep was made of the room.

During the search, glass smoking pipes and injection needles were found, but no drugs, Wertz said.

Each of the people, four men and three women, denied possession of the paraphernalia, Wertz said, so all of them were given citations.

Each of them signed a promise to appear in court, but no arrests were made, he said.

Boating death on Lake Don Pedro

About 11:30 p.m. Saturday, the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a possible boating accident north of the Fleming Meadows boat ramp on Lake Don Pedro in La Grange.

Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputies and members of the Boat Patrol Unit arrived on the scene and determined that a white-and-black 2005 Sea Ray vessel had crashed into the south face of Rock Island on the lake, killing a woman.

The driver of the boat, Waid Lababibi, 55, of Santa Clara, sustained minor injuries and was transported to a Modesto hospital.

Shukran Badawi, 45, Lababibi’s wife, sustained fatal injuries. An autopsy has been scheduled to determine the cause of death, Sheriff’s Sgt. Andrea Benson said.

She said Waid Lababibi had discharged flares after the accident, and the reporting party had contacted law enforcement after seeing them in the sky, Benson said.

The cause of the accident was operator error due to inexperience, a Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office news release stated.

Benson said it is legal to operate at night with functioning navigation lights per Coast Guard regulations.

Transient man admits to burglary after drug arrest

The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office arrested a transient Coulterville resident in Big Oak Flat Sunday afternoon on controlled substance possession charges, and the suspect later admitted to being involved in a Sept. 3 burglary.

At 11:40 a.m., Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputies contacted a man riding his bike on Priest Coulterville Road in Big Oak Flat and searched him after determining he was on probation out of Stanislaus County.

The man was found to be in possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and was arrested at the scene.

After his arrest, the man was interviewed by Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputies at the Tuolumne County jail regarding a burglary that occurred at his father’s home on Priest Coulterville Road.

The burglar had broken into the residence through the front door after attempting to get in the back door, Benson said. It appeared as if the security door and the wooden front door had both been pried open, and several items, including a Primos Alpha Dogg Predator Call, a Conair radio and a government-issue pea coat, had been stolen.

The hunting predator call and the peacoat, as well as a trespass letter for the suspected burglar, were discovered at an illegal campsite, Benson said.

The recovered property was returned to the owner.

Brandon Frederick Wilson, 43, was booked on suspicion of burglary and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

His bail was set at $50,000.