CHP: Sonoma Valley girls hit by car in Halloween night hit-and-run
Two girls getting into a parked car Halloween night in the Sonoma Valley were injured when a driver whom authorities suspect was speeding lost control and crashed into the car before running away, officials said.
The Boyes Hot Springs girls, 10, and 16, were taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. The younger one had a serious leg injury and the teen had minor injuries, according to initial reports.
The costumed driver, described as wearing a Dodgers baseball player uniform, was seen initially at the crash by firefighters but then disappeared.
The CHP identified the driver as Agustin Mendoza, 19, and said he ran from his 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe after the crash. Mendoza later was found by law enforcement officers during a search and arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run causing injuries, CHP Officer Marc Renspurger said Friday.
Callers dialed for help on Riverside Drive at Cherry Avenue just before 7 p.m., and Sonoma Valley fire Battalion Chief Bob Norrbom was first to arrive. He found the conscious but alert injured girls, the badly damaged parked sedan, more than 100 feet of skid marks, the destroyed Chevrolet Tahoe, a damaged oak tree - apparently hit by the SUV before it hit the car - and several alarmed residents who’d seen or heard the crash, eager to tell the firefighter what they knew. Also at the scene, initially, was the driver.
“He was dressed up for Halloween in a full Dodger uniform. He was saying he was OK,” Norrbom said. “I checked on the juveniles and turned around and he’s gone.”
Reports from residents and damage at the crash site indicated the driver likely was traveling well above the 25 mph speed limit when he hit the tree and the front of the parked car, the veteran battalion chief said.
“The guy came barreling down the road, lost control and rammed their car,” he said. “It’s very fortunate the girls were on the passenger side of the car” as the SUV impact included damage to the driver’s side.
CHP officers were investigating the crash and said alcohol didn’t appear to be a factor. Mendoza was treated for minor injuries and booked into the Sonoma County Jail. He was released after posting bond for $20,000 bail.