A woman talking on her cellphone, held to her ear as she drove, crossed double yellow lines on Lakeville Highway and caused a four-vehicle collision that tied up commute traffic on Tuesday evening, the CHP said Wednesday.
The woman and another driver were injured and the highway was closed for about an hour, resulting in extensive traffic backups.
The crash was reported at 5:11 p.m. just south of Stage Gulch Road and Lakeville Highway. The CHP issued an alert to drivers to avoid the area, which lasted until 6:59 p.m.
Driver Crystalyn Gocobachi, 31, of Petaluma told officers she’d been talking on the phone when her SUV moved into the opposite lane.
It is illegal to drive and be on the phone unless the driver is using a hands-free device. Distraction from her phone call appears to be a factor in the crash, said CHP Officer Jon Sloat.
Gocobachi suffered a head injury from the cellphone, as well as other injuries. She was flown by CHP helicopter to Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa with major injuries, said CHP Officer Kerri Post.
Driver Antoinette Boracchia, 57, of Petaluma was taken by ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with a variety of pain concerns.
Gocobachi was northbound on the route when her 1999 Dodge Durango moved into the southbound lane. It sideswiped two cars then hit the front of a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban, according to the report.
The Durango sideswiped a 1999 Honda Civic driven by Cynthia Yareli Salomon Serrano, 33, of Fairfield.
It then swiped a 2013 Charger driven by Amy Dutschke, 58, of Antelope before the head-on collision with Boracchia’s 2003 Chevrolet Suburban.
Dutschke and Serrano reportedly weren’t injured.
The helicopter was expected to take Gocobachi to Memorial Hospital but due to weather issues, flew the woman to the Napa hospital.