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Two injured in eight-vehicle pileup on Highway 101 in Rohnert Park

An eight-vehicle pileup on Highway 101 in Rohnert Park caused traffic mayhem Monday during the evening commute.

Two people were injured - none seriously - but the damage to the northbound commute was massive.

It happened about 5:30 p.m. near Rohnert Park Expressway as a pickup truck driven by Lawrence Lira, 65, of Graton, came up on slowed traffic and rear-ended a vehicle in his path, CHP Officer David deRutte said Tuesday. Lira’s Ford F-250 hit a vehicle that hit another vehicle.

The rest of the chain-reaction collision happened behind the pickup, as a driver hit Lira’s truck and four drivers then became part of the wreckage, deRutte said.

Firefighters from Rohnert Park, Rancho Adobe and Sonoma County agencies responded, as well as two ambulances. Crews found a chaotic scene as commute traffic began backing up for miles.

“They were stacked up, one on top of the other. Some went under and some went over,” said Rancho Adobe fire Battalion Chief Herb Wandel.

The CHP issued a public alert at 5:37 p.m. that all northbound lanes were blocked and another 10 minutes later that one lane was open, allowing traffic to slowly funnel around. The highway was completely open at 6:30 p.m., deRutte said.

Alternative routes also stacked up with traffic as drivers sought alternative ways home. Firefighters reported gridlock in the area and a few minor crashes.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707-521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com.

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