Driving drunk at about 100 mph, a Vallejo man traveling on Highway 29 near Yountville plowed into the back of a slower-moving car, seriously injuring two people inside, the CHP said Wednesday.
The man walked away from the wreck and disappeared into a vineyard, but a quick search with a police dog located suspect Elmer Alexander Ayala-Duarte, 23, CHP spokeswoman Officer Anna Paulson said.
Ayala-Duarte was extremely drunk and was arrested on suspicion of two felony charges, Paulson said.
The 10:48 p.m. Tuesday crash happened south of Yount Mill Road. Ayala-Duarte was driving a black 2013 GMC Sierra truck, and speeding at about 100 mph, according to witnesses.
He drove up on a white 1996 Dodge Caravan going about 45 mph. The truck smashed into the back of the van — the impact was so great it crumpled the back end up to the van’s front seats, Paulson said.
The two vehicles then careened across the opposite lane, left the roadway and crashed into a vineyard.
Inside the van, driver Louis Bortolussi, 67, of Napa and his daughter Gina Bortolussi, 38, of Vallejo were taken by AMR ambulance paramedics to Queen of the Valley Hospital.
Ayala-Duarte, who had walked into the vineyard, was found within about 20 minutes by CHP and Napa County deputies and the dog, which bit the man while he was being apprehended. He was taken to a hospital for treatment prior to being booked into the Napa County Jail on suspicion of felony DUI causing injuries and felony DUI with a high blood-alcohol level.
Because the crash ended up off of the roadway, the county’s main highway remained open.