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Santa Rosa woman arrested in fiery fatal collision on Hall Road

  • Fatal accident on Hall Road, west of Irwin Lane, July 14, 2012.

A Santa Rosa woman was in custody Sunday, suspected of vehicular manslaughter in an apparent domestic violence case that played out on a west Santa Rosa road, ending with the fiery death of an uninvolved driver.

Driver Heather Ann Howell, 28, apparently knew the man on the motorcycle she allegedly was chasing along Fulton and Hall roads late Saturday afternoon, the CHP reported.

Witnesses in a Lexus told the CHP the woman driver appeared to be trying to hit the motorcyclist as they sped along Hall Road.

Fatal Hall Road Crash

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The bike rider veered out of the way, Howell's sedan hit the side of the Lexus in front of her, driven by Robert Scott Tuttle, 89, of Santa Rosa. Her car then hit the rear of a 1969 Triumph Spitfire convertible, said CHP Sgt. Dave Derczo.

The Triumph flipped and landed on its top, trapping the driver inside. Witnesses told officers they could hear the man screaming as the car caught fire. He died at the scene.

The driver was believed to be a 55-year-old Santa Rosa man, the CHP reported. His name wasn't released Sunday. His identity was expected to be verified by the Sonoma County Coroner's Office through dental records.

The motorcycle rider's name also wasn't released Sunday.

The 4:45 p.m. crash occurred on Hall Road near Irwin Lane.

Long, curving skid marks and a large scorched patch of road and earth marked the collision spot. On Sunday, someone had left a bouquet of purple, blue and red flowers in a vase in the middle of the blackened ground. Other bouquets, potted plants and a note appeared at the scene throughout the day.

CHP officers closed that stretch of Hall Road for more than five hours after the crash, allowing for the investigation.


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