Controversy After Owner Apprehends DUI Driver Who Crashed into His C4 Corvette


A parked Corvette is at the center of a controversy involving a drunk driver and a citizen who held him at gunpoint until police arrived.

It all happened around 7:45 p.m. on Jan. 25 in Petaluma, Calif., when Joe Clayworth looked out the second-story window of his home to see a large truck drive over the hood of a parked C4 Corvette and hit the fence of his South McDowell Boulevard home.

Clayworth had heard several loud collisions just moments earlier, apparently the results of Ryan Wilbur, 31, of Petaluma crashing head-on with another vehicle traveling the opposite direction on South McDowell and then striking several parked cars, including the Corvette.

Clayworth was inside his home looking over his new Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol when he heard the commotion. He ran outside with his gun and says he “screamed 30 times” at Wilbur to get out of the truck.

“If he had gotten free, he would have continued,” Clayworth says, noting that he continued to squeal his tires against the driveway trying to break loose.

What followed, however, has created a controversy on the Web. Police arrested Wilbur for suspected drunken driving as his blood alcohol level was five times the legal limit. They then turned their attention to Clayworth, who was detained at the scene in the back of a police car but not arrested as lawmen tried to sift their way through the crime scene.

Controversy After Owner Apprehends DUI Driver Who Crashed into His C4 Corvette
Photo Credit: Joe Clayworth

Petaluma Police Department Lt. Ken Savano said it was routine to take possession of the weapon and detain any individuals involved as officers make their way through their investigation.

“We don’t have the time to say, ‘OK, everybody calm down for a second,’ ” Savano said. “It’s often standard practice that if someone has a firearm, they are detained. It allows the officer to get some control at the scene, so the right questions can be asked.

Police still have Clayworth’s gun, as they try to determine whether Clayworth used it in a legal manner. If that investigation clears Clayworth and isn’t needed as evidence, Savano says the pistol could be released to him within two weeks.

“I told them I did nothing wrong,” Clayworth said.

The investigation could end up helping Clayworth in the long run, according to Savano.

“Our intent here is not to keep his gun from him,” Savano said. “We’re documenting it from the perspective of being impartial, and looking from the outside in. It’s so the criminal justice process can be completed in the way it was intended to be.”

Savano told the Petaluma 360 website that a record of legal use could benefit Clayworth by helping to defend him against the possibility of a future assault charge from the driver.

Clayworth describes himself as a law-abiding gun owner, noting that he completed the required background check and waiting period for the pistol only five days before the incident.

“It’s kind of weird that the whole anti-gun movement has gotten to the point that a person driving his truck through your property and smashing your car – that’s not enough reason to have a gun?” he said.


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  1. Well as usual the law is on the criminal side. Are right is to carry a gun an hold the bad guy at large if an instance does happen.

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