A suspected drunken driver crashed Sunday in Freestone outside a popular bakery, injuring one person and damaging the business when a car smashed through the entryway, according to the CHP.
The collision occurred just before noon at Wild Flour Bread on Bohemian Highway and has business owners asking for more traffic safeguards for the unincorporated town, which gets swamped on weekends with tourists, whether by car, bike or foot.
“I’m concerned with the safety there,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, who represents the west county area.
On Sunday, Sarah Segal, 29, drove a Honda CRV into a Subaru Outback in the bakery’s parking lot, CHP Officer Kerri Post said.
The impact pushed the Outback into a person sitting on a redwood bench outside of the bakery and then the vehicle smashed into the entryway, Post said. The person on the bench, Anke Rains, 52, suffered foot and hip injuries.
Segal, of South Lake Tahoe, was arrested on two felony counts of suspicion of drunken driving and causing injuries and was taken to the Sonoma County Jail. She remained in custody Monday with bail set at $100,000.
The driver of the Outback was Marie Maniscalco, 26, of San Francisco. No other injuries were reported.
Wild Flour Bread owner Jed Wallach said there was no major structural damage outside the entryway and that his business remained open on Sunday.
Typically, on weekends its lines can go outside the door as customers come from throughout the Bay Area to walk around its garden and sample its highly regarded bakery items, from its brick oven baked sourdough breads to its scones and biscotti.
At the time of the crash Sunday, it was overcast and the bakery wasn’t as crowded as usual. “This type of accident gives you pause,” Wallach said.
His bakery can get so crowded on weekends that customers park across the road and cross Bohemian Highway to get to his store. They also may walk to the nearby Joseph Phelps Winery or up to the Country Store or the Freestone Artisan Cheese. In addition, the Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary is a popular attraction, both for locals and visitors, on the north side of the highway.
Besides the car and foot traffic, the route is popular with bicyclists as well.
“It (the crash) could have been so much worse,” said Thea Doty, who owns the Enduring Comforts store next to Wild Flour.
Doty said she is especially concerned with cars that come off Highway 12 at a high rate of speed, then have to make a sharp turn onto Bohemian Highway but fail to slow down sufficiently to the 25 mph speed limit. She suggested a large sign as cars enter the road to alert drivers that it is heavily traveled by pedestrians.
Omar Mueller of Freestone Artisan Cheese said he typically sees speeders that pass near his store while making an almost 90-degree turn as the road heads out to Occidental.
“I go 25 and I got people who are tailgating me,” Mueller said. “I would love the county to win the lottery so it could provide a safety zone.”
Carrillo said he spoke with Wallach on Monday and will investigate whether further precautions are needed in discussions with transportation and public works officials, law enforcement, residents and business owners.