Hit and run hero: 'It was just the right thing to do'

10:21 PM, Feb 3, 2010   |    comments
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  • Johnathan Hobson, 24
  • Amira Fakira
  • Amira Fakira was charged with felony hit and run and drunken driving
  • Johnathan Hobson and wife Lupe Zavala
  • The Ford Explorer dragged a bicyclist a quarter mile.
  • Johnathan Hobson received a CHP Certificate of Commendation
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  • Sacramento hit and run witness snatches suspect's car keys
  • RANCHO CORDOVA, CA - Johnathan Hobson says he gave little thought to chasing a suspected drunk driver and snatching the keys from her ignition when she got stuck at a red light.  "It was just the right thing to do so she wouldn't hurt anybody else," he said.

    Hobson, 24, spoke during a brief ceremony Wednesday at the CHP headquarters in Rancho Cordova where he received a commendation for his actions Sunday night.

    Hobson choked up as he recalled watching the Ford Explorer drag a bicyclist a quarter mile on Folsom Boulevard.  "The guy was under the vehicle.  He was looking back, his bike split in half.  He couldn't do anything," Hobson said.

    Hobson said he honked at driver Amira Fakira, 23, trying to get her to stop.  He then tried unsuccessfully to block her when she turned onto Norcade Circle.  The bicyclist, Sanjay Patel, 26, was dislodged when Fakira made a U-turn back onto Folsom Boulevard.

    Hobson's wife, Lupe Zavala, 25, got out of the Mustang to help Patel while Hobson followed Fakira west on Folsom Boulevard.  "She was going over 100 miles per hour," he said.  "I was on the horn making sure people on the street would see us."

    Hobson caught up with Fakira when she was forced to stop for a red light at Watt Avenue.  He said both of her front windows were down, so he reached in and grabbed the keys.  "She got out and started hitting and scratching me," he said.

    A CHP officer who had just written a ticket nearby arrived within a couple of minutes and placed Fakira under arrest.  She was booked into the Sacramento County Jail on felony hit and run and drunken driving charges, and later released on $50,000 bail.

    The victim, Sanjay Patel, is a manager of the Subway sandwich shop near the crash site.  He remained hospitalized Wednesday in serious condition at the UC Davis Medical Center.

    Hobson's parents beamed as they watched the ceremony, although his mother admitted mixed feelings about the incident.  "It scares me a little bit that he did that, that he chased her down, because you never know what's going to happen.  But I'm proud of what he did," Lori Hobson said.

    Also in attendance was Judy Utter, a victim advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).  Utter said she became a friend of his family when Hobson volunteered at drunk driving checkpoints in high school.  "He understood the dangers of drunk driving then and now he has actually stopped a drunk driver," Utter said.

    Hobson works in an auto parts store and is interested in modeling.  CHP officers gathered around him after the ceremony were trying to convince Hobson to join the Highway Patrol.

    By George Warren, GWarren@news10.net


    Previous News10 story

    Sacramento hit and run witness snatches suspect's car keys 1/31/10



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