Two Sonoma County men were hospitalized with major injuries following a head-on collision Tuesday night on Highway 12 near Glen Ellen.

The 9 p.m. crash occurred when Ryan Ellis, 22, of Santa Rosa, who was traveling east in 2010 Dodge Charger near Sylvia Drive, attempted to illegally pass traffic in front of him on Highway 12, said CHP Officer Steve Fricke.

At the same time, the driver of a 2001 Ford F-250, Micahel Jean, 59, of Kenwood, was heading west on the highway. The two cars collided, with Ellis suffering two broken legs and Jean moderate injuries, the CHP said.

Ellis tried to pass Jean crossing double-yellow lines, which is against the law, said CHP Sgt. Erik Egide. The CHP reported the smell of alcohol and suspects Ellis was drinking and driving.

The speed limit on that stretch of road is 55 mph, and both vehicles were traveling at least that, Fricke said.

Jean saw Ellis passing the traffic from about 500 feet away, the CHP said, and when it appeared Ellis wasn’t going to merge back into traffic, Jean swerved his truck toward the side of the road, but not in time to avoid the collision. One of the men was trapped in his vehicle and had to be extricated, but Fricke said it wasn’t clear which driver.

Both men were wearing seat belts, and airbags deployed, Fricke said. The drivers were taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.Hwy. 12 was closed in both directions until just after 10:30 p.m. as investigators surveyed the damage and cleared the roadway.

Ellis suffered major injuries and was taken to the hospital unconscious.

The crash is under investigation as a possible DUI accident, Fricke said.

You can reach Staff Writer Christi Warren at 707-521-5205 or On Twitter @SeaWarren.