A 26-year-old Clearlake woman was killed on Highway 29 on Thursday morning when a Lake County sheriff's deputy rushing to assist another deputy in pursuit of robbery suspects crashed his patrol car head-on into the woman's car.
Gabriela Rivas Garcia died at the scene of the 6 a.m. crash on southbound Highway 29 between Kits Corner and Diener Drive in the Manning Flat area, according to sheriff's Lt. Steve Brooks.
She was the only one in the car. No further information was available late Thursday about her.
The deputy, whom Brooks did not identify, was seriously injured and was flown to a trauma center outside of Lake County. Brooks also did not identify the hospital. The deputy's condition was unavailable late Thursday.
The crash was being investigated by the CHP's Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team and the Lake County District Attorney's Office.
The crash occurred about 5 miles west of Highway 53 and at least 8 miles west of where the other deputy's pursuit began on Morgan Valley Road, according to the sheriff's department's description of the incident.
The incident started with an emergency call from the 9800 block of Rocky Creek Road in Lower Lake for a reported home invasion robbery.
Three weeks ago, on Sept. 13, the Lake County narcotics task force had served a search warrant at the address, Brooks said. In that call, four people were arrested and 950 marijuana plants and 4 grams of methamphetamine were seized.
In Thursday's incident, four armed suspects reportedly entered the home and beat, robbed and shot at the victim several times. The victim was not identified, and it wasn't known how badly he or she was injured.
Lake County District Attorney Don Anderson said the suspects included two men and two women.
As deputies were responding, Brooks said, dispatchers relayed information that the suspects had driven away from the house in a brown pickup.
A deputy spotted the speeding truck near Oak Haven and Morgan Valley Road headed north toward Lower Lake, Brooks said, and began pursuing it.
The truck turned north on Highway 53 toward Clearlake and ran a signal at Dam Road before turning onto 18th Avenue and intentionally driving off the road where the deputy could not follow in his vehicle, Brooks said. The suspects then ran from the truck, he said.
James Robert Conaster, 38, of Clearlake and Lauren Astor Faumuina, 20, of Middletown were taken into custody a short time later, Brooks said.
Two others remained at large Thursday night despite a ground search by the Clearlake police and the sheriff's deputies.
Conaster was arrested on suspicion of robbery, being a convicted felon in possession of a gun, evading police, criminal threats, possession of a controlled substance and other charges.
Faumuina was arrested on suspicion of robbery, evading police, committing a felony while armed with a gun and criminal threats.
Both were booked into the Lake County Hill Road jail.
(Staff Writer Mary Callahan contributed to this report. You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 762-7297 or email@example.com.)
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