A confusing, chain-reaction crash involving four cars and two suspected drunken drivers left a Santa Rosa woman, her young son and a passenger in her car severely injured after they climbed out of their disabled Volvo on Highway 101 and into the path of more trouble Sunday morning, according to the CHP.
The 2-year-old's mother, Bertha Alicia Vazquez, 39, appears to have provoked the early morning wreckage, though just how she became entangled with a Honda Accord and caused the first crash was not entirely clear Sunday night, CHP Officer Marcus Hawkins said.
An off-duty Cotati police sergeant reported seeing Vazquez race past him on northbound Highway 101 in Rohnert Park at speeds approaching 90 mph in the moments before the 3:38 a.m. crash, Hawkins said.
Then near Todd Road, her Volvo sedan collided with the Honda Accord, driven by Gloria Noemi Aquino, of Santa Rosa, causing both cars to spin out of control, he said.
Aquino's car came to a stop on the shoulder, its front bumper detached. She was uninjured, Hawkins said.
The Volvo ended up sideways across two lanes, pointing west.
Vazquez got out of the car as if to walk around the front of it to the passenger side, so she could remove her son, Armani Paez, Hawkins said.
But her 25-year-old passenger, Gregorio Galvez, climbed out faster, grabbed the child from the backseat and had him in his arms just as another car, a Toyota Corolla, struck the Volvo in its path, Hawkins said.
The Volvo spun again, striking its three occupants in the street, knocking the boy loose from Galvez's arms and sending them all flying in different directions, Hawkins said.
"It was a horrible scene," CHP Officer Nenad Gorenec said.