Guerneville girl, 14, found dead after Santa Rosa crash

A 14-year-old passenger from Guerneville died Monday and her friend, a 16-year-old driver, was arrested on suspicion of DUI after a minor two-vehicle crash in Santa Rosa, police said.

The female passenger, whose name was not released by the Sonoma County Coroner’s Office by Tuesday night, had no apparent injuries after the crash, said Sgt. Chris Mahurin, a Santa Rosa Police Department spokesman.

Officers on Tuesday focused their investigation on what led up to the collision, he said.

“The collision didn’t look like it had anything to do with the death,” Mahurin said. “The 14-year-old didn’t have any signs of trauma on her body that would have indicated foul play.”

The collision, initially reported as a hit-and-run, occurred at about 1 p.m. Monday on Piner Road east of Marlow Road.

The 16-year-old Santa Rosa driver was driving east in a Toyota Camry when she collided with another vehicle on the road but continued to drive, Mahurin said.

The driver of the other vehicle trailed the Camry until it came to a stop at the nearby intersection of Piner Road and Coffey Lane, Mahurin said.

At the scene within minutes, officers focused their initial inquiries on the 16-year-old driver, who showed signs of being under the influence of alcohol and possibly drugs, Mahurin said.

“Because of the level of intoxication, her initial statements were difficult to understand,” Mahurin said.

Minutes later they turned their attention to the 14-year-old, who Mahurin said appeared to officers to be asleep in the vehicle’s back seat. She was unconscious and not breathing, prompting a call for an ambulance.

Attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful. She died at the scene.

The teen driver, who has a valid driver’s license, was taken to a hospital to be treated for her intoxication, Mahurin said.

She was arrested on suspicion of DUI and later released to her parents.

Investigators have interviewed her but Mahurin declined to release any details about her statements to authorities. Police withheld her name because she is a minor.

"If it was something suspicious, which we don’t have any indication that it is, we wouldn’t want to put that out there before a suspect was interviewed,“ Mahurin said.

A toxicology and autopsy report will help police determine the cause of the teen’s death, he added.

The intersection at Piner Road and Coffey Lane was closed for several hours as police investigated the crash, Mahurin said.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or On Twitter @nashellytweets.

Nashelly Chavez

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The Press Democrat 

Who calls the North Bay home and how do their backgrounds, socioeconomic status and other factors shape their experiences? What cultures, traditions and religions are celebrated where we live? These are the questions that drive me as I cover diversity, equity and inclusion in Sonoma County and beyond.   


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