A reckless driver reportedly caught the attention of a California Highway Patrol officer Sunday afternoon. Police say the officer tried to make a traffic stop on Highway 1. After a brief pursuit, the CHP says the officer backed off because the driver of the Geo Prizm did not yield. Moments later the Prizm slammed into a motorcycle.
Law enforcement says the officer was roughly an eighth of a mile away when the motorcycle accident occurred. Police believe the 37-year-old man driving the speeding Prizm crossed over into incoming traffic. The Prism was traveling southbound on Highway 1. A 39-year-old woman was traveling northbound on the highway on a 2003 BMW GS 650. Police say the wreckage shows the motorcycle impacted the passenger side of the Prism.
The Monterey County Coroner’s office reports that both the motorcyclist and the driver of the Prizm suffered blunt force trauma injuries in the Sunday afternoon crash. Neither survived the accident.
Investigators spent the entire night poring over the motorcycle accident scene. Although the accident occurred around 4:20 p.m. Sunday, the investigation continued into the Monday morning commute on Highway 1 near Watsonville. Members of the California Highway Patrol Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team conducted the on-site investigation.
The CHP says the officer that conducted the brief pursuit of the Prizm before the accident occurred did not see the crash. Law enforcement says the Prizm side-swiped an SUV before the fatal accident occurred. A woman in the SUV suffered minor personal injuries in that accident.
The cause of the fatal collision remains under investigation. Police are reportedly awaiting result of toxicology tests to learn if the driver of the Prizm was under the influence.
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, “Coroner identifies two who died in Highway 1 crash,” Oct. 18, 2011