Driver Who Died In Custody Actually Owned Car Police Thought Was Stolen

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December 03, 2019 - 9:22 am
Police lights on Patrol Car

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A driver who died last week after being restrained by officers in Sonoma County was actually the rightful owner of the car he was driving, although it had been reported stolen, officials said

David Glen Ward, 52, died November 27 after he'd been placed in handcuffs following a struggle in which cops placed him in a carotid restraint hold, used a Taser and struck him several times, according to the Santa Rosa Police Department. 

Officers used force against Ward because he'd initially fled at 70 miles per hour from a Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy and two Sebastopol police officers who'd tried to stop him for driving what was believed to be a car stolen days earlier, officials said.

The stolen car report heard by officers also claimed that the suspect was armed. 

Ward did not inform the officers that he legitimately owned the car, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat

When officers had cornered Ward in his car, he refused to exit the vehicle and bit officers who tried pulling him through a window, the Santa Rosa Police said in a statement. 

The carotid restraint, in which a deputy put his arm around Ward's neck. subdued the driver, allowing officers to pull him through the passenger door.

Shortly after the fight, at 6:10 a.m., an officer noticed that Ward did not appear to be breathing and needed CPR. An ambulance took Ward to Petaluma Valley Hospital where he was declared dead at 7:17 a.m.

Family and neighbors told the Press Democrat that Ward, who lived in Petaluma, was in poor health and had respiratory problems. 

The sheriff's office is reviewing the deputy's use of the restraint and the report of the car theft that precipitated the encounter. 

In addition, another deputy, who was present for the struggle with Ward, and the two Sebastopol officers are on administrative review.