s
s
Sections
Search
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, nearly 1.5 million people used their mobile devices to visit our sites.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Wow! You read a lot!
Reading enhances confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction. Keep it up! Subscribe.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Oops, you're out of free articles.
Until next month, you can always look over someone's shoulder at the coffee shop.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, we posted 390 stories about the fire. And they were shared nearly 137,000 times.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Supporting the community that supports us.
Obviously you value quality local journalism. Thank you.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Oops, you're out of free articles.
We miss you already! (Subscriptions start at just 99 cents.)
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
X

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Login

X

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

LoginSubscribe

The family of two teenagers in a car crash that killed the driver and seriously injured his passenger are feeling vindicated by an investigation that showed no alcohol or drugs were involved, contrary to initial CHP reports.

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Capt. Mark Essick confirmed Friday that blood tests showed no alcohol or drugs in Endrias Atlaw, 18, of Santa Rosa, who died in the early morning hours of Oct. 9 when his car hit a tree off Highway 1 north of Bodega Bay.

“I was very happy he was not involved in anything like this,” said his father, Fesseha Atlaw, who from the start discounted a CHP press release that said alcohol may have played a part.

Atlaw was described as “a straight shooter,” a promising student and active member of a youth group at Rock Calvary Church who did not like to drink.

For those who knew him, that conflicted with the initial account from the CHP that stated alcohol was believed to be a factor in the collision. But within days, the agency was downplaying the possibility.

“I did try to reach out to the parents to straighten it out, (to say) someone spoke too soon,” Officer Jon Sloat said, adding that “conflicting witness statements at the (accident) scene led people to misconstrue they were under the influence, as opposed to some traumatic injury.”

Atlaw and his passenger, Aleksandra Ivanova, 18, of Rohnert Park, both worked at In-N-Out Burger in Santa Rosa. The two had headed to a beach on the Sonoma Coast to “hang out” with fellow employees from the hamburger chain.

On their way back, Ivanova fell asleep. It was just before 2 a.m. when Atlaw for an unknown reason lost control of his northbound 2004 Honda Civic between Bodega Bay and Bodega, according to the CHP, went off the road, spun and hit a eucalyptus tree at the driver’s side door. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The injured Ivanova screamed, yelled and attempted to hit a witness who came to her aid, according to the CHP, but that apparently led to an erroneous conclusion that she was intoxicated.

A head injury can cause a person to act that way when in reality there is no impairment, Sloat acknowledged. Ivanova suffered a concussion, broken collarbone, broken ribs, broken pelvic bones, lacerations and bruises.

Her mother, Svetlana Clark, this week gave a reporter copies of her daughter’s medical reports showing she had no alcohol or commonly abused drugs in her system when she arrived at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital the night of the accident.

“My daughter doesn’t drink,” Clark said. “She’s not interested.”

The final CHP report also showed Ivanova had on a seat belt, contrary to the early news release statement.

Clark said her daughter, nicknamed “Alaska,” spent nearly a month in the hospital and is still recovering.

“She can’t sit for too long. Her pelvis was broken in three places,” said Clark, adding that her daughter had an approximate 5-inch-long metal screw inserted into her pelvis to help her walk sooner. But she is back at work, taking a couple of classes at Santa Rosa Junior College and wants to be a nurse.

Show Comment