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Sheriff's wife arrested for DUI after plowing Tesla into Santa Rosa house

SANTA ROSA -- The woman who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and injuring another person when her car crashed into a Santa Rosa home early Saturday is the wife of the Sonoma County sheriff, the sheriff said on social media Saturday afternoon.

Natasha Whittinghill, 47, was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI after her car apparently left the roadway, slammed into a fence, hit a tree and plowed into a Santa Rosa residence in the 5200 block of Beaumont Way Saturday around 12:51 a.m., according to Santa Rosa police.

Tesla Into House
A gray Tesla drove into a home on Beaumont Way, Santa Rosa May 20, 2023.  Santa Rosa Police Department

"Last night my wife was involved in a DUI crash. Her car hit a house, causing damage, and the one person inside the home was injured. As was appropriate, she was arrested and is facing DUI-related charges in the incident being handled by the Santa Rosa Police Department," Sonoma County Sheriff Eddie Engram said in a statement on Facebook Saturday.

Engram, the county's top law enforcement official, was elected in June 2022.

"As a husband, I am greatly concerned about my wife's well-being. As a citizen and Sheriff, I am also concerned about the well-being of the person inside the home who suffered injuries," Engram said.

In his post, the sheriff said he wanted the community to hear the news from him first, because as sheriff, "I always aim to be open and honest with the community I proudly serve. And that's what leads me to share with you this message, as personal and as painful as it is for our family."

The case began when police received several calls about a vehicle driving into a home in the 5200 block of Beaumont Way around 12:51 a.m., according to a news release issued by the Santa Rosa Police Department around 2:47 p.m. Saturday.

One of the homeowners also called police, saying a gray Tesla drove into the front of their home, police said. One of the residents, a woman in her 50s, suffered minor injuries from shards of glass and was taken to the hospital for treatment, according to police.

Police identified the suspect as Natasha Whittinghill, 47, of Santa Rosa.

Based on a DUI investigation, evidence on scene and the injury to a resident police describe as being a result of the collision, Whittinghill was arrested and booked into Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of felony DUI that caused injury, police said.

"I understand that our community will have more questions and want answers. So do I. However, because this incident is being investigated by Santa Rosa, in order to avoid any potential conflict of interest, Santa Rosa Police Department will be handing media inquiries," Engram said in his post.

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