CHP: Passenger survives Santa Rosa DUI crash, hit by car attempting to flee


A passenger survived a Highway 101 crash Monday night in Santa Rosa then was killed when he was hit by a car while leaving his vehicle, according to the CHP.

The passenger had been riding with a suspected DUI driver, heading north in an Infinity SUV just before 11 p.m. through Santa Rosa. Near Bicentennial Way, the SUV driver came up behind a motorcycle and hit the back of the bike, CHP Officer David deRutte said Tuesday.

The rider, Andre Russell, 72, of Windsor, was able to keep his Harley Davidson upright and both vehicles stopped in the middle lane.

Two men in the Infinity then got out. The driver got to the side of the highway and kept running southbound but the passenger was just outside the vehicle when he was hit.

The crash happened just in front of oncoming driver Mercedes Allende, 18, of Ukiah, who saw the vehicles in the lane and swerved right to avoid them. But her Toyota Land Cruiser hit the right back corner of the SUV and then the passenger, deRutte said.

Callers told dispatchers one man was in the roadway and a driver had left the scene, pointing law enforcement toward the fleeing man. The Sonoma County sheriff’s helicopter joined the effort and the driver was spotted at a Steele Lane gas station. Officers arrested Juan Padilla‑Lopez, 33, of Santa Rosa on suspicion of DUI and hit and run, deRutte said.

The crash remained under investigation Tuesday including whether Padilla‑Lopez would face a charge involving the death of his passenger, deRutte said. Allende was not impaired, stopped after the collision and has cooperated with the investigation, he said.

The crash and emergency response blocked the highway until about 3 a.m. Drivers were diverted to nearby Steele Lane.

The passenger’s name wasn’t released Tuesday, pending family notification.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter@rossmannreport.

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About Craig Ballantyne 14864 Articles
I love anything to do with Harley Davidson and have two beautiful children and a beautiful partner. In my spare time i like building websites and love anything to do with the internet.

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