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California highway crash claims life of marine biologist

Authorities have blamed a six-vehicle pile up on Lakeville Highway in Petaluma on a Chevrolet Silverado driven by an unidentified 19-year-old. The Silverado was westbound during the busy early morning rush hour when it crossed double yellow center lines into oncoming traffic. It collided first with a Prius and killed the driver, a 66-year-old woman who taught at the University of California, Davis. She was a marine biologist with a worldwide reputation. Her colleagues at the Bodega Bay laboratory and in Indonesia where she regularly studied coral reefs mourned her sudden death.

A Honda Accord took the next impact as the Silverado continued and eventually hit three more vehicles. Witnesses described a scene with vehicles crashing and flying around due to the high speeds. A blue sedan landed in a field. Firefighters from Petaluma responded along with three ambulance crews. Emergency personnel closed the highway for over four hours while attending to the injured and removing wrecked vehicles.

The fire battalion chief said that firefighters helped a man with a head injury out of his damaged vehicle through the windshield. An ambulance transported the man to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. Police reported that the driver of the Silverado and a 50-year-old passenger went to a hospital with serious injuries.

When a negligent driver causes a crash that kills someone, the surviving family members of the victim might pursue damages. Costa Mesa legal representation for fatal auto accidents could help a survivor organize evidence about the causes of the crash and the financial damages inflicted on the family. A settlement for wrongful death might include compensation for funeral bills and loss of income.

Source: The Press Democrat, "Bodega Bay scientist dies in six-vehicle Petaluma crash, three others injured", Julie Johnson, April 24, 2018

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