Man dies after head-on collision with CAL FIRE vehicle

A Chevrolet Tahoe with Cal Fire insignia and a Jeep apparently collided on an undivided, two-lane highway known as one of the most dangerous roadways in Sonoma County


Randi Rossmann
The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

A man has died after being thrown from his Jeep in a head-on collision with a Cal Fire SUV on Friday afternoon on Lakeville Highway.

The unidentified man driving the Cal Fire vehicle was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, but didn’t appear to have serious injuries, said Kelly Bradley, a North Bay Fire duty chief who responded to the call.

The 2:35 p.m. collision happened near Old Lakeville Highway Road No. 1, south of Stage Gulch Road, the CHP said. It immediately stacked up traffic, as the crash occurred at the forefront of the Friday afternoon commute.

An alert was issued by the CHP that Lakeville Highway was closed between Highway 37 and Highway 116 and for drivers to use alternate routes. CHP reports indicated a long closure was expected.

CHP’s fatal crash investigation team was called to the scene to help determine what happened. The highway — which runs about 11 miles between Petaluma and Highway 37 — has gained a reputation as one of the most dangerous roadways in Sonoma County. A contractor has been slated to begin work on installing edge and center-line rumble strips on a 7-mile stretch of the highway that is under the jurisdiction of Sonoma County.

Details of the crash weren’t immediately available. But the Chevrolet Tahoe with Cal Fire insignia and the Jeep apparently collided on the undivided, two-lane highway. Initial CHP crash reports indicated the Jeep had overturned and the Tahoe was badly damaged.

Wilmar and Lakeville volunteers, as well as Cal Fire and a Petaluma fire ambulance, responded.

Bradley said first responders arrived to find both vehicles on their wheels, the Chevrolet Tahoe off the road on the east side and the Jeep in the road.

The CHP report indicated the unidentified driver thrown from the vehicle had been found over the railing that runs along the side of the highway. Firefighters found the deceased driver off the west side of the highway, Bradley said.

The airbags on the driver’s side of the Chevrolet had deployed and the ranking fire official with the state agency had gotten out on his own. He was examined for possible injuries and taken by ambulance to the Santa Rosa hospital.

After the crash, as traffic backed up, some drivers began to turn around, as emergency vehicles rushed into the area, Bradley said.

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©2019 The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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