A 37-year-old U.S. Coast Guard petty officer apparently on his way to work at the Two Rock Training Center outside Petaluma died Friday morning when he lost control of his car on Stony Point Road near Cotati, rolled the vehicle and was ejected, authorities said.
Petty Officer Tyshawn Wilbert, a husband and father, died at the scene of the 7:27 a.m. crash after what the CHP said appeared to be an effort to pass traffic on the shoulder of the road at a very high speed.
Witnesses to the crash estimated Wilbert's speed as high as 90 mph as he accelerated to pass southbound traffic that had been stopped for a red light at Highway 116/Gravenstein Highway, CHP Officer Jon Sloat said.
Just shy of Madrone Avenue, Sloat said, Wilbert's 2000 Volkswagen Passat suddenly veered up the embankment, perhaps after a wheel caught in the ditch, plowed through the grass for several yards and then began rolling, leaving a path of wreckage torn from the car.
Preliminary investigation indicated that Wilbert was ejected at the top of the embankment, where the bent frame of his door remained a short time later, Sloat said.
He apparently was launched onto the road and slid before coming to rest in the middle of Stony Point Road about 210 feet from the point where he left the vehicle, Sloat said.
The car, which landed at the base of the embankment, was battered nearly beyond recognition, the front driver's compartment crushed and ripped away, and car parts strewn on the hillside.
Wilbert lived in Santa Rosa with his wife and at least one child, Lt. Commander Travis Collier said from the Two Rock base Friday. His service to the Coast Guard extended back more than 17 years.
Wilbert worked for the past four as an apprentice trainer for electronics technicians at the Coast Guard training base in rural south Sonoma County, where he was a respected teacher and colleague, Collier said.
"He was a positive addition to the staff," Collier said.
Coast Guard personnel and students who knew Wilbert were notified of his death around mid-day. A Coast Guard chaplain also spent the day with Wilbert's family, Collier said.
(You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 521-5249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)