California

He switched seats with drunk driver after crash — but he was drunk too, Calif. cops say

Rudolf Giancola, 28, left, was on probation for an earlier DUI offense, police said. Right, Mary Stewart was also booked on charges of driving under the influence.
Rudolf Giancola, 28, left, was on probation for an earlier DUI offense, police said. Right, Mary Stewart was also booked on charges of driving under the influence. Sonoma County Jail

Switching seats mid-getaway may have been these DUI suspects’ plan to outsmart cops, but it didn’t work out as intended.

After a hit-and-run collision was reported Saturday evening in Petaluma, California, police were on the lookout for a vehicle witnesses described fleeing the scene.

When officers tracked down the car nearby just after 9 p.m., 28-year-old Rudolf Giancola was behind the wheel showing “obvious signs of intoxication,” according to Petaluma police. But Giancola hadn’t been driving the car during the crash, police said.

Giancola’s passenger, 28-year-old Mary Stewart (a Wisconsin resident who was also displaying “obvious signs of intoxication”) was behind the wheel during the collision, police said. But the pair allegedly swapped seats after the crash “due to Stewart’s state.”

Giancola’s state can’t have been much better than Stewart’s: Both Stewart and Giancola had blood alcohol levels that were more than twice the legal limit in California, according to chemical tests used by police.

Giancola and Stewart were arrested and booked at the Sonoma County Jail on charges of driving under the influence, according to police.

Police figured out the two had switched seats while interviewing the two suspects, authorities said.

Giancola was on probation for an earlier DUI offense, police said.

“DUI continues to plague California roadways,” the police department said in a statement announcing the two arrests. “Bottom line: Do not drink and drive.”

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