last updated: April 22, 2013 08:45:27 AM
DARRYL BUSHemail@example.com - Oakdale police officers, John Deming, right, riding "Moe" and Joe Cruz, back left, riding "Lobo" patrol the parking lot of the Oakdale Rodeo, in Oakdale, Calif., Sunday, April 15, 2012. - Modesto Bee - DARRYL BUSH
Scores of rodeogoers stuck in stop-and-go traffic as they left the arena grounds Saturday watched a driver belt his pregnant passenger, then drive and charge at a mounted police officer before being arrested at gunpoint, authorities said.
Police said Julio Cesar Gutierrez, 34, of Manteca faces charges of domestic violence, resisting arrest, misdemeanor assault on a police horse and drunken driving after the incident just outside the arena parking lot. Stanislaus County Jail records show he was in custody Sunday without bail on an immigration hold.
Witnesses said after being hit multiple times, the pregnant woman got out of the car. Oakdale police officer John Deming, riding horse Moe, said he first saw a woman walking with a car following and honking at her. He galloped over and came alongside the car while a cruiser, lights flashing and sirens blaring, pulled up behind.
The driver, however, refused to pull over as traffic crept along, and Deming said he pulled Moe in front of the car to stop it.
"(Moe) did fantastic. He did everything exactly as I asked him," Deming said Sunday. It was the 9-year-old quarter horse's first arrest with the Oakdale force.
Jay Stevens of Modesto said he was among the throngs leaving the rodeo parking lot when he saw the drama unfold, from the punches in the car to the arrest.
Stevens said seeing the horses work in Highway 108 traffic beat anything he'd seen at the rodeo.
"The tickets to the rodeo were $20, but I'd have paid $500 to see that again," Stevens said.
Oakdale police officer Joe Cruz said he and Lobo, a 12-year-old red roan, rode toward the car after seeing the driver hitting his passenger. Cruz yelled for the man to pull over, but he said the driver just raised his middle finger and drove on.
Gutierrez was arrested after some resistance, Deming said, adding that in five years of working the fair he rarely sees incidents like Saturday's.
"The rodeo gets rowdy, but usually you don't see a guy punching a pregnant girl," Deming said. "He punches a girl in the face and he blames it on her."
The passenger was not identified.
Moe, Lobo and their riders were back on watch at the rodeo parking lot Sunday.
Bee staff writer Nan Austin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2339.
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