Updated at 10:11 p.m. — A 4-year-old boy was killed, his mother seriously injured and a Napa County restaurateur also hurt in a violent head-on collision Sunday afternoon in the Carneros area, the California Highway Patrol has confirmed.
The child and his 27-year-old mother were passengers in a Chevrolet Equinox SUV that collided with an oncoming Lexus RX 450 on Highway 12/121 at about 3:35 p.m., according to CHP Officer Jaret Paulson.
Emergency response workers performed CPR on the boy, who was then transported by Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office helicopter to Queen of the Valley Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, Paulson reported Sunday night.
The boy’s mother, who was in the Chevrolet’s front passenger seat, was flown by CHP helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with major injuries, according to the highway patrol. The condition of the driver, 23-year-old Flavio Castellanos of Napa, was not immediately available.
Cindy Pawlcyn, 58, a longtime restaurant owner in St. Helena, was a passenger in the Lexus SUV that crashed, according to Paulson. She was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to the Queen along with her husband, John Watanabe, 66, of St. Helena, who was driving. CHP listed Pawlcyn’s injuries as moderate and Watanabe’s as minor.
Witnesses said the Chevrolet crossed the double-yellow line on 12/121 shortly before the wreck, according to Paulson, though the reason remained unclear late Sunday. The impact destroyed the noses of both SUVs, their sheet metal crumpled almost to their front windshields.
“Both vehicles were at or near the speed limit — there was almost no braking except maybe a last-second swerve,” he said. “They hit almost front license plate to front license plate; it was about as head-on as you can get. They may have tried to swerve but there was no time to get out of the way.”
The boy was in a booster seat and the surviving occupants all were using their seat belts, according to Paulson, who said there was no early indication of alcohol or drug use by either driver.
The crash occurred on a stretch of highway just west of the di Rosa art gallery and the Domaine Carneros Winery.
Authorities closed 12/121 in both directions for more than three hours after the crash, detouring drivers onto Duhig Road. The highway reopened at 6:45 p.m.