Major crash temporarily shuts down Highway 101 near Cotati

A man suspected of drunken driving was arrested after his involvement in a three-vehicle crash that injured five people, one seriously, and temporarily shut down southbound Highway 101 near Cotati on Sunday, the CHP said.

The crash happened at 1:53 p.m. near the Gravenstein Highway offramp, CHP Sgt. Kevin Craig said.

A GMC Yukon, green Honda sedan and Lexus were fully engulfed in flames when emergency crews arrived at the crash site, he said.

A 28-year-old woman in the Yukon was airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center for burns and injuries not considered life-threatening, and two other occupants of the car were taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

The Honda sedan driver, a 41-year-old man, was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial for head burns.

He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, but released from custody so he could be transferred to UC Davis for further treatment, CHP Officer Brian Wood said.

The driver’s identity wasn’t released on Sunday, pending verification of his name, Wood said.

A female passenger in the Honda was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial and released Sunday afternoon.

None of the four Lexus passengers was injured, Wood said.

Southbound Highway 101 was shut down for more than an hour. Two lanes opened around 3:10 p.m., and the rest reopened by 4:10 p.m.

Craig said the crash is under investigation, but it appeared one of the drivers may have caused the crash with an unsafe turn.

Cotati Police Department helped CHP divert traffic off the highway before the lanes reopened.

You can reach Staff Writer Susan Minichiello at 707-521-5216 or

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