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Rohnert Park Man Suspected In Fatal Santa Rosa Hit-And-Run Surrenders To CHP

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SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — A Rohnert Park man suspected of the hit-and-run death of a Santa Rosa man Saturday turned himself in to the California Highway Patrol Monday afternoon, a CHP officer said.

John Mesker went to the CHP’s office with his attorney at 3 p.m.  but did not make any statements, CHP Officer Jon Sloat said.

Mesker, 33, was booked into the Sonoma County Jail for felony hit-and-run, driving on a suspended license and for violation of his probation, Sloat said.

The CHP suspected Mesker was the driver of a 1998 Toyota Camry that struck 21-year-old Basilio Nathan Garza Jr. in the southbound lanes of Petaluma Hill Road near Hunter Lane around 4:15 a.m. Saturday.

The female registered owner of the Toyota told the CHP that Mesker “had the car,” CHP Officer Keri Post said.

The Rohnert Park Public Safety Department found the Toyota after a resident of Holly Avenue reported it was parked in front of her residence later on Saturday morning. Holly Avenue is just south of Petaluma Hill Road where the collision occurred, the CHP said.

Rohnert Park police said the Toyota had hood and windshield damage consistent with a collision, and that the CHP took possession of the car.

Garza was with friends but walked away from them before he was struck and killed in the southbound lane of Petaluma Hill Road in the Penngrove area of Sonoma County.

Sonoma County court records show Mesker has had a series of felony and misdemeanor offenses since 2000 and faces a trial in August on misdemeanor charges of DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance and giving false registration information to police on June 29.

Mesker was also on two years’ probation for possession of a stun gun in April when he was arrested for the four misdemeanor offenses.

© Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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