A woman who Santa Rosa police say caused a three-car crash Monday on Highway 12, killing herself and a 77-year-old woman, was wanted on a warrant for driving without a license and had four prior DUI convictions.
Sonoma County court Commissioner Carla Bonilla signed a no-bail arrest warrant for Rosanne Starr Webb, 52, of Santa Rosa, on March 2, 2005, after Webb failed to show up to serve a 10-day jail sentence for driving without a license in 2004. She was never detained on the warrant.
Webb's driving privileges had been revoked after she was arrested twice in a four-day period in March 2002, once in Sonoma and once in Santa Rosa, for separate drunken driving offenses, according to court records.
Webb also was convicted of driving without a license in 1996. Court records available Tuesday were unclear whether Webb's driving privileges had ever been restored as the case lay dormant the past three-plus years.
"It doesn't appear that she had a valid license," Santa Rosa Police Lt. Doug Schlief said.
Witnesses to the 2 p.m. crash near Los Alamos Road said Webb's Ford Focus was speeding, tailgating, swerving and making unsafe lane changes before it clipped a Jeep headed in the same direction and then crashed head-on into a car driven by Beverly Rick.
Rick died later at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
The Jeep driver, Laurie New-hart, 46, of Santa Rosa, had moments earlier called 911 to report Webb's erratic driving, Schlief said.
"She was saying that the lady in the blue Ford was screaming in the car -- that the woman was either sleepy or real drunk or something's wrong with her," Schlief said.
He said the 911 call began when both cars were near Oakmont, about two miles southeast of the crash scene. While talking to a dispatcher, Newhart said she wanted to pull over and let Webb pass her, but that there was no place to do so safely.
"She knew that up ahead the road changed into two lanes. It wouldn't have been far to go," Schlief said.
But Webb tried to pass Newhart before the road widened.
Schlief said the investigation into the deadly collision is continuing and that alcohol, drug use or road rage have not been ruled out as contributing factors.
Schlief said it appears unlikely that anyone will be prosecuted in the crash. "Preliminarily it appears that the driver of the blue station wagon was at fault, and of course she was killed," Schlief said.
The Police Department is expecting autopsy results within the next few weeks that will indicate if Webb had been using alcohol or drugs. They also are continuing to investigate possible road rage or anger issues, Schlief said.
"Based on some of the statements there is some indication that she was angry," he said. "We have to try and find out what someone may have been mad about."
Webb's family could not be located Tuesday.
Her criminal history behind the wheel dates to 1990 when she pleaded guilty to two counts of drunken driving.
In January 1994, she was charged with four violations involving driving in Sonoma County without a proper license and not having proof of financial responsibility for the vehicle. When she failed to show up in court five months later, a $1,000-bail arrest warrant was issued. In 1996 She entered a no-contest plea to a misdemeanor and was ordered to pay a $150 fine, which she did, court records show.