A 17-year-old driver and her passenger were hospitalized early Thursday after they crashed while fleeing police in a car — with the lights off and at speeds hitting about 120 miles per hour, Healdsburg police officials said.
The teen driver was arrested on suspicion of felony drunken driving and evading police; she was released to the custody of her parents at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where she underwent surgery Thursday, Sgt. Nick Castañeda said. Police did not identify the driver because she is a minor suspected of a crime.
Her passenger, 18-year-old Cheyenne Vichi of Santa Rosa, was treated in the emergency room and released, hospital officials said. Vichi was on probation for two DUI convictions at the time of the crash, and she may face arrest for violating the terms of her probation, Castañeda said.
The car went airborne when it missed a curve and struck a wall built of boulders, then landed on its roof and caught fire.
“They’re lucky to be alive,” Castañeda said.
The pursuit began at about 12:30 a.m. when an officer spotted a 2015 Honda sedan unsafely pulled over on Healdsburg Avenue near Passalacqua Road on the north end of town, the sergeant said. The car sped off as the officer approached, heading north with the lights off, Castañeda said. The driver didn’t stop despite the officer’s lights and sirens.
Police backed off after the car accelerated to an estimated 120 mph, knowing the avenue ahead would take a 90-degree turn as it became Lytton Station Road, Castañeda said.
The Honda missed the turn, crashed into a stone retaining wall and became airborne for about 130 feet. It crashed through a fence and landed on its roof in a neighbor’s backyard, police said.
The car was on fire when police arrived, and the unconscious teens were pulled from the vehicle.
Police noted strong odors of alcohol and marijuana in the car, the sergeant said.
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