Sonoma County sheriff's wife arrested on DUI charge

The wife of Sonoma County Sheriff Eddie Engram was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after crashing into a house and injuring a person in the home, Engram said on social media.

"Last night my wife was involved in a DUI crash. Her car hit a house, causing damage, and the one person inside the home was injured," Engram said in a Facebook message. "As was appropriate, she was arrested and is facing DUI-related charges in the incident being handled by the Santa Rosa Police Department."

Engram said he was compelled to reveal that his wife had been arrested.

The woman who was hurt by the crash told KTVU about what happened.

Lorie Johnson, 58, said she was sitting in her recliner in the living room of her Santa Rosa home, watching soap operas, when just before 1 a.m., she heard the sound of a car engine, and then headlights came crashing through her wall.

"I’m kind of still in shock," said Johnson." Then there’s this massive, massive boom. My television is a 75, 80-inch TV coming towards me. With debris and two-by-fours with nails. I’m pinned to the chair with my little dog on me just screaming."

A Tesla Model 3 crashed into the front of her house. The driver was identified as 47-year-old Natasha Whittinghill, the wife of Engram. 

"As a husband, I am greatly concerned about my wife’s well-being," Engram wrote. "As a citizen and Sheriff, I am also concerned about the well-being of the person inside the home who suffered injuries."

Johnson was taken by ambulance to the hospital. She said she hurt her knees and has cuts all over her body from shards of glass and debris.

A neighbor’s doorbell video captured the moment the Tesla jumped the curb and flew into the house. Johnson said watching that video has been difficult. 

"It kinds of puts it in perspective how lucky I am because she didn’t stop," said Johnson.

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The wife of Sonoma County Sheriff Eddie Engram crashed into a Santa Rosa home, injuring one person, which led to her arrest on a DUI charge in Santa Rosa on May 20, 2023, Engram said.

She said Whittinghill was visibly intoxicated and got out of her vehicle when neighbors came over to help. 

"She got belligerent with them. And fell into the bushes," said Johnson.

Santa Rosa police were called to the scene. Lt. Christopher Mahurin said officers gave the driver a field sobriety test. 

"There was no request for special treatment. She was booked into the jail," said Mahurin.

He said officers did test Whittinghill’s blood alcohol level, but said getting the results could take a couple of weeks. The case will then be handed over to the district attorney’s office.

"All of these cases, we treat them just like we would treat any other citizen involved in a DUI collision," said Mahurin. "This individual was found to be probable cause to be arrested for felony DUI."