Petaluma woman killed in bizarre accident off Bohemian Highway

Posted on in Car Accidents

When we're traveling on the road in a car, bike or by foot, we do so with at least a subconscious knowledge that there is some risk involved. Car accidents happen, and sometimes vehicles run into motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.

But no one could have predicted an accident that happened last Friday in Occidental, California. A 61-year-old Petaluma woman was standing with a group of people in a gazebo at the Alliance Redwood Conference Grounds when a speeding car came flying off Bohemian Highway and crashed into the gazebo before launching over a creek and landing on its side. No one else in the group was injured, though the driver and her passenger were.

The woman, her husband and at least one other person were preparing to do a zipline "canopy tour" through the redwoods, officials said.

It's not yet known why the 74-year old driver lost control and careened off the highway, which is full of curves and "slippery when wet" signs. Conditions were clear and dry that day. A driver behind the woman said he saw the Mercedes traveling near the posted speed limit of 25 to 30 mph about a half-mile before the crash, but the driver suddenly accelerated and pulled away at about 70 mph, driving so fast she could barely stay on the road.

The car's driver and passenger were taken by ambulance to a hospital as investigators tried to determine a possible cause of the crash. Right now nothing is being ruled out, though no alcohol or drug evidence was found at the crash scene.

Many witnesses to the crash were understandably shocked, yet marveled that no one else standing in the gazebo was killed or even seriously hurt. But that's of little comfort to the woman's husband, who lost his wife in the blink of an eye. Depending on the ultimate cause of the crash, he may decide to seek compensation and damages for that loss through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: The Press Democrat, "One dead, two injured in crash at Alliance Redwoods Conference Grounds," Lori A. Carter, Feb. 24, 2012

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