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Passenger dies in collision as driver flees hit-and-run

The California Highway Patrol arrested a Santa Rosa man on suspicion of driving under the influence Monday night after a deadly hit-and-run collision on northbound U.S. Highway 101 in Santa Rosa. Juan Padilla-Lopez, 33, of Santa Rosa, was driving an Infiniti SUV north on Highway 101 around 11 p.m. when he struck the rear of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in the middle lane of the highway, CHP Officer David deRutte said.

A 72-year-old Windsor man who was riding the motorcycle north was able to keep the bike upright and both vehicles stopped in the middle lane about 250 feet later, deRutte said.

Padilla-Lopez and a male passenger in his vehicle tried to flee the scene. An 18-year-old Ukiah woman who was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser swerved to the right to avoid hitting the stopped Infiniti but she clipped the vehicle and struck the passenger, who died at the scene, deRutte said. The Sonoma County sheriff’s helicopter that was in the area followed Padilla-Lopez, who fled to a Shell gas station on Steele Lane. Responding sheriff’s deputies detained Padilla-Lopez and the CHP arrested him on suspicion of DUI and hit-and-run, deRutte said.

Northbound Highway 101 was closed until around 3 a.m. Tuesday.

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