A woman suspected of terrorizing motorists on Highway 101 in Windsor with wildly reckless driving and heading the wrong way into oncoming traffic told CHP officers she had been drinking heavily and didn’t remember a thing, authorities said.
The CHP on Wednesday identified Melinda Hildebrand, 32, of Santa Rosa as the suspected driver of the 1994 Jeep Cherokee who after driving recklessly during the Feb. 2 incident eventually crashed the vehicle and ran, disappearing into the night.
Officers tracked Hildebrand down Monday, one week after highway drivers began calling 911 at about 8:30 p.m. and offering play-by-play accounts as the Jeep swerved across lanes, side-swiping cars, Officer Jon Sloat said.
Hildebrand was not arrested when officers contacted her Monday, Sloat said. The CHP will send its report to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office for review. They are recommending she be arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and misdemeanor hit-and-run.
Witnesses told the CHP the Jeep’s driver sped up to 80 mph on northbound Highway 101 near central Windsor just before crashing into the center guardrail near Arata Lane. The driver then turned the Jeep around and headed south in a northbound lane, sideswiping two oncoming vehicles, the CHP said. About 300 yards farther south, the Jeep crashed into a fence and the female driver got out, jumped a fence and ran toward Los Amigos Road.
No one was injured during the incident, Sloat said.