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Berkeley woman dies after car plunges into Clear Lake

A 79-year-old Berkeley woman died Sunday after the car she was riding in plunged into Clear Lake, the CHP said.

The woman, a passenger in the Toyota Yaris, was identified as Francis Strassman, 79.

The driver of the car, Susan Marie Suarez, 57, of Cobb, suffered minor injuries, the CHP said.

Suarez was driving east on Highway 20 in Clearlake Oaks at about 11:30 a.m. when she lost control of the vehicle on the wet road, the CHP said. The car slid across the road and into the lake, officials said. A passerby stopped to help remove the occupants from the submerged vehicle, the CHP said.

It was not known how long the car was submerged, the CHP said.

Strassman was unconscious at the scene. She was transported to St. Helena-Clearlake Hospital, then flown to UC Davis Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. Suarez was treated and released at the local hospital.

The cause of Strassman’s death has not yet been determined, said CHP spokesman Kory Reynolds. An investigation into the accident is continuing, the CHP said.

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