A man roused by police officers when he was found sleeping in his vehicle will be bedding down in jail after damaging two patrol cars, according to Placerville police.
The incident occurred early Tuesday when two officers checked on an occupied vehicle in the parking lot of Regal Cinema, 337 Placer Drive. They found a man, later identified as 53-year-old John Retzlaff, sleeping in the passenger seat.
Retzlaff woke up and banged on the window at the officers, then jumped into the driver’s seat, ignoring officers’ attempts to talk to him, according to a Police Department news release.
Retzlaff started the vehicle, put it in gear and accelerated in reverse about 40 feet from the officers. Without hesitating, Retzlaff then quickly accelerated forward and rammed a police car that had been parked approximately 50 feet in front of his vehicle, police said. The impact caused a secondary crash into another patrol vehicle parked next to the first one.
Retzlaff continued to try to evade the officers, but the crash immobilized his vehicle enough for officers to finally take him into custody, according to the news release.
Retzlaff was booked into El Dorado County Jail on suspicion of felony vandalism and resisting an officer.
“We are very fortunate that our officers were not injured in the incident,” Police Chief Dan Drummond said in a written statement. “This incident has a negative effect on our already aging fleet. Two vehicles have sustained several thousand dollars worth of damage.”