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Motorcyclist, 73, dies of Highway 116 crash injuries

A Nevada man died Wednesday morning of injuries sustained two weeks earlier after a Sonoma County teen drifted into the path of his motorcycle on Highway 116 in Forestville -- apparently because she had sneezed.

Paul Butler, a resident of Gardnerville, near South Lake Tahoe, was thrown off his motorcycle when he was struck by the girl's oncoming Subaru Impreza on the afternoon of Feb. 13, authorities said.

CHP Officer Kerry Post said the driver of the Impreza, Cazadero resident Karlie Rose, 17, drifted across a double-yellow line on the highway before colliding with Butler, 73, west of Canyon Rock quarry.

"She just said that she was sneezing, and she crossed over," Post said Wednesday.

Rose was uninjured in the 4:10 p.m. crash, Forestville Fire Chief Max Ming said.

But Butler flew over the top of the car as the force of the vehicle pushed his motorcycle out from under him, Ming said.

Butler was conscious and talking at the scene, according to Ming, but he suffered a broken pelvis and other injuries that proved serious, Post said.

Butler died shortly before 4:30 a.m. Wednesday at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, the Sonoma County Coroner's Office said.

Post said Wednesday that authorities were conducting a follow-up investigation and would be submitting a report to the District Attorney's Office for review to determine whether any criminal charges were warranted.


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