Defendant Matthew Meloche, 41 years old of Santa Rosa, pleaded guilty to one count of felony false imprisonment before the Honorable Peter Ottenweller for an incident that occurred in February of last year involving his then girlfriend. Separately, he also pled to a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol that occurred on October 31, 2020. In that matter, Meloche was driving over 90 miles per hour and swerving on Highway 101. His blood alcohol tested at .16, twice the amount determined to be presumptive DUI.
District Attorney Ravitch stated, “This defendant’s actions put the victim at risk when he used his vehicle as a weapon. He further endangered the public by driving under the influence of alcohol. His status as a law enforcement officer in no way excused or mitigated the illegal nature of his acts.”
The false imprisonment charge resulted from an incident on February 2, 2020, when Meloche, a police officer with the Santa Rosa Police Department who was off duty, used his personal vehicle to block the movements of the victim in a residential section of Santa Rosa. Meloche was in a dating relationship with the female at the time. A video clip from a Ring doorbell camera captured the defendant as he drove toward the victim’s vehicle and in her lane of traffic forcing her vehicle off the road and blocking her movements. The victim put her vehicle in reverse and attempted to drive around Meloche. As the victim did this, Meloche accelerated his vehicle causing the front of his truck to strike the right rear of her vehicle. The victim was able to drive away but was struck a second time by Meloche’s vehicle a few blocks away, prompting calls to 911 from concerned citizens. Neither party was injured. Santa Rosa police officers responded to the scene and turned the investigation over to the Sonoma County Sherriff’s Office when they realized that Meloche was involved.
As a result of these convictions, Meloche will be placed on formal probation for three years and will be required to participate in the 52-week anger management program overseen by the Domestic Violence Court when returns to court for sentencing on April 22, 2021. He will also be required to participate in the first offender drinking driver program.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Matt Hubley, assisted by District Attorney Investigator Greg Wojcik.