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Santa Rosa police: Motorcyclist killed in Highway 12 crash

Police are searching for a sport utility vehicle involved in a fatal crash Thursday night on Highway 12 in east Santa Rosa.

The accident was reported just before 8 p.m. near Calistoga Road, Sgt. Dave Linscomb said. The motorcyclist, identified as Brian Michel Johnson, a 34-year-old Sonoma resident, died at the scene.

The intersection was closed and traffic was diverted through a nearby shopping center as officers interviewed witnesses and combed the scene, where the body laid under a yellow tarp in the eastbound lane.

The bike was nearby, resting on a raised concrete median.

The SUV driver involved in the accident fled, heading eastbound on the highway, Sgt. Ryan Corcoran said. Police still were searching for it late Thursday.

Santa Rosa resident Antonio Harris said he was heading westbound on the highway when he saw the motorcycle crash into the median. He said the motorcyclist was trying to get through the traffic light before it turned red.

“As he was accelerating through the light, he lost control and hit the island,” a shaken Harris said.

Harris then pulled into the nearby shopping center and called 911. That's when he said he saw an SUV plow into the motorcyclist, who was lying on the road after he was tossed from the bike.

“It happened so quickly. They didn't even stop,” Harris said about the SUV. “I still can't believe it. I've never seen anything like this before.”

The motorcyclist is the fourth person to die in a crash in Santa Rosa this year - an unusually high number for a city that has averaged four to five fatalities a year since 2012.

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