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Intoxication suspected as cause of fatal crash

Police in California say that a drunk driver caused a wrong-way accident in Marin County during the early morning hours of Aug. 19 that claimed the life of a 63-year-old Santa Rosa woman. The allegedly intoxicated driver was also seriously hurt in the crash, which took place on Highway 101 near the border between Marin and Sonoma counties at approximately 1:11 a.m. A third motorist suffered minor injuries after his pickup truck struck the accident wreckage.

A California Highway Patrol representative said that calls were received shortly before the crash about a vehicle traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of Highway 101 in the vicinity of San Antonio Road. Police report that a Honda minivan was traveling north at approximately 65 mph when it struck an oncoming Mercedes sedan head-on. Police say that the 47-year-old woman behind the wheel of the Mercedes may have believed that she was traveling in the southbound slow lane instead of the northbound fast lane.

Rescue workers arriving at the scene of the head-on collision used cutting equipment to extricate the two women from their badly damaged vehicles, and a helicopter was brought in to transport the alleged drunk driver to a trauma center in Napa. The woman behind the wheel of the minivan died shortly after being transported by ambulance to a hospital in Greenbrae. Initial reports did not indicate what may have led police to determine that the woman responsible for causing the crash had been driving under the influence.

The contents of police reports can be a source of valuable information to personal injury attorneys pursuing civil remedies on behalf of car accident victims. Establishing liability is crucial in these cases, and law enforcement reports may provide evidence of intoxication, distraction or recklessness. When drunk or distracted drivers are prosecuted and incarcerated, attorneys may seek compensation for their victims by filing lawsuits against their insurance companies or estates.

Source: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, "Santa Rosa woman killed by wrong-way driver in collision at Marin-Sonoma county line", Angela Hart, Aug. 19, 2015

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