CHP: Passenger survives Santa Rosa DUI crash, but struck, killed on Hwy. 101

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A passenger survived a Highway 101 crash Monday night in Santa Rosa, but then was struck and killed by another vehicle while leaving his SUV, the CHP said.

The man had been riding in an Infiniti SUV with a suspected DUI driver, later identified as Juan Padilla‑Lopez, 33, of Santa Rosa, CHP said. They were heading north through Santa Rosa just before 11 p.m., when Padilla‑Lopez hit the back of a motorcycle near Bicentennial Way, CHP Officer David deRutte said Tuesday.

The motorcycle rider, Andre Russell, 72, of Windsor, was able to keep his Harley Davidson upright and escape injury.

The motorcycle and Infinity stopped in the middle lane, and Padilla‑Lopez and his passenger got out of the SUV. Authorities said Padilla‑Lopez then got to the side of the highway and ran south after the crash, but the passenger was hit by another SUV, driven by Mercedes Allende, 18, of Ukiah, while standing outside the Infinity, CHP said.

Allende saw the motorcycle and SUV in the lane and swerved right to avoid them, but her Toyota Land Cruiser hit the right back corner of the Infinity and then the passenger, deRutte said. The man’s name wasn’t released, pending family notification.

Callers told dispatchers they saw one man in the roadway and another fleeing, pointing law enforcement toward Padilla‑Lopez. The Sonoma County sheriff’s helicopter joined the effort, and Padilla‑Lopez was spotted at a Steele Lane gas station.

Officers arrested Padilla‑Lopez on suspicion of DUI and hit-and-run, deRutte said.

The crash and death remained under investigation Tuesday.

Allende was not impaired, stopped after the collision and has cooperated with the investigation, deRutte said.

The crash and emergency response blocked the highway until about 3 a.m. Drivers were diverted to nearby Steele Lane.

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

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