SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — A homeless woman and her dog, sleeping in a car parked on a Santa Rosa street, were killed early Monday morning when an impaired driver slammed into their vehicle, authorities said.
Santa Rosa Police said the accident was reported in the area of Hoen Avenue, just east of Cypress Avenue near Montgomery High School, at around 3 a.m.
“Speeding was a factor,” said Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Summer Gloeckner. “It looks like when he struck the first parked car with the female victim inside, he also sheered a telephone pole and then hit another parked car.”
All three vehicles were completely totaled and one had been pushed up into the front yard of a residence on the south side of Hoen Avenue.
Neighbor Ron Shields heard the crash and was the first person to reach the SUV.
“We started looking at the white car to see if there was actually anybody in there,” said Shields. “We found a woman inside. She was unconscious at the time. We tried to open the door and she started moving a little bit. Then the fire truck pulled up so we let them handle the rest from there.”
Officers located a deceased female and her dog, in a vehicle that had been pushed into the yard of the residence. It appears she was possibly living out of her vehicle and was asleep at the time of the collision.
Officers also located the driver of a black Dodge Challenger — identified as Angel Ivan Martinez, a 21-year-old resident of Santa Rosa — who was showing signs of intoxication.
Investigators completed a DUI investigation and determined that Martinez was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision. He was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and the booked at the Sonoma County Jail for vehicular manslaughter with a DUI and two felony DUI counts.
Area residents were shaken by the death.
“This is very sad! Especially since was somebody who maybe didn’t have a home,” said neighbor Herman Maniki. “The car was their refuge. So that’s where they live, and this happens to you? I mean, it’s terrible.”
“On this street, I’ve never seen anybody homeless out here sleeping in a car or anything like that,” said Shields.
Homeless advocates KPIX 5 spoke with Monday said most people living in cars try to keep a low profile and sometimes seek out quiet neighborhoods to park.
The curve where the accident happened has seen so many crashes that city has installed a guard rail on a street where the speed limit is only 35 mph.
PG&E said the power could be restored by Monday evening. Phone and internet service may take days to be reconnected.
The female victim’s identity was being withheld pending notification of next to kin.
Anyone with any information on the crash is asked to contact Officer Kenny Ferrigno 707-543-3636.