The CHP on Monday offered a chilling account of a hit-and-run collision three miles southeast of Petaluma that took the life of a 17-year-old Napa County boy.
Michael Scott Harmon, 41, of Rohnert Park was southbound on Lakeville Highway shortly after midnight when he lost control of his Ford F-150 pickup, which careened back and forth across the roadway before colliding with the teen's northbound truck, authorities said.
A witness told officers that the driver got out of the wrecked Ford, walked over to the other pickup and peered inside at the dead teen. He then disappeared into the night on foot.
Jahzeel Forsen of American Canyon died on impact, CHP Officer Jon Sloat said. The passenger side of Harmon's truck collided with the driver's side of the other pickup, he said.
Later Monday morning, officers identified Harmon as a person of interest. The 1969 Ford abandoned at the scene was registered to him, and a witness' description of the driver matched Harmon, Sloat said.
Ten hours after the accident, Harmon, who recently moved to Rohnert Park from Vallejo, contacted the CHP. After questioning at the CHP office in Rohnert Park, he was arrested on suspicion of felony manslaughter and felony hit-and-run, Sloat said.
Officers are investigating whether Harmon might have been driving under the influence at the time of the crash. Harmon has a valid driver's license and is on probation from a drug conviction. Sloat said he may have fled the crash scene because he is on probation.
The collision occurred near Old Lakeville Road No.1, just south of the Stage Gulch Road. The Ford went off Lakeville Highway, hit an embankment and swerved back onto the highway and into the northbound lane.
A passer-by who arrived as the dust was settling from the collision gave the CHP the account of the driver's actions. After looking inside the other pickup, the driver spoke briefly to the witness and walked away, Sloat said.
Harmon walked through fields and went to a friend's home near Stage Gulch Road, Sloat said. He got a ride to Rohnert Park.
Monday's is the latest in a recent series of hit-and-run crashes causing serious or fatal injuries to cyclists and drivers in the North Bay.
A crash Friday on Pine Flat Road near Healdsburg left a professional bike rider with critical injuries. A man who the CHP said was the driver has been arrested on suspicion of being drunk at the time, driving a stolen car and hit-and-run.
Earlier this summer, a Rohnert Park driver crashed into a bicycle rider on Petaluma Hill Road near Penngrove and didn't stop, the CHP said. The cyclist, retired SSU Professor Steve Norwick, later died.
Leaving the scene of an injury crash typically results in prosecution for a felony offense.
"You're upping the ante as far as punishment goes when you leave the scene," Sloat said.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or randi. firstname.lastname@example.org.