Police arrest Gotcha surfwear co-founder in Laguna Beach car wreck

A retired professional surfer who co-founded Gotcha surfwear was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and on suspicion of cocaine possession after a traffic accident in Laguna Beach, police said Wednesday.

Police charged Michael Elliot Tomson, 58, of Laguna Beach with two felony counts of DUI and possession of a controlled substance, as well as a misdemeanor count of being under the influence of drugs, Laguna Beach police Capt. Jason Kravetz said in an email.

Tomson posted $100,000 bail and was released.

A caller reported a traffic collision involving a 2008 Mercedes E550 and a 2008 Nissan Rogue at 9:17 a.m. Monday at Glenneyre and Calliope streets in Laguna Beach.


Tomson, who was driving the Mercedes, was heading south on Glenneyre when he rear-ended the Nissan being driven by a 65-year-old woman from Santa Ana, police said.

The woman was hospitalized for minor to moderate injuries.

Tomson was not injured, Kravetz said.

Investigators closed Glenneyre for about two hours.

Tomson started Gotcha with Joel Cooper in 1978 in Laguna Beach. The company’s board shorts and T-shirts were highly popular among surfers in the 1980s. Gotcha is now based in Newport Beach.

Tomson has had previous run-ins with the law.

In April 2012 he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors — driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in December 2011 and resisting a peace officer in October 2011, according to court records.

Tomson also was pulled over for driving at an unsafe speed in October 2012.


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