Updated: Boy killed, restaurateur Cindy Pawlcyn hurt in Carneros crash

Mother of 4-year-old boy seriously injured in head-on collision
2014-04-06T17:22:00Z 2014-08-06T11:07:39Z Updated: Boy killed, restaurateur Cindy Pawlcyn hurt in Carneros crashHOWARD YUNE and KERANA TODOROV Napa Valley Register
April 06, 2014 5:22 pm  • 

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.

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(18) Comments

  1. Cadence
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    Cadence - April 06, 2014 6:07 pm
    There is at least one fatality from this crash, per the CHP website. I drive this route weekly. There is no reason for a head on collision here other than inattention and I am repulsed by the driver at fault.
    My condolences.
  2. rpcv
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    rpcv - April 06, 2014 8:45 pm
    Would you still be "repulsed by the driver at fault" if you found out that s/he had a sudden medical issue, like a stroke or heart attack, that caused the collision? Please, please refrain from making judgments in a tragedy such as this. We do not know the facts.
  3. Lank
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    Lank - April 06, 2014 9:13 pm
    Press Democrat reports it was a six year old boy. Very sad.
  4. logicalnapkin
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    logicalnapkin - April 06, 2014 9:30 pm
    So quick to judge with so little knowledge of what happened. The biggest problem in America.
  5. JJtoob
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    JJtoob - April 06, 2014 9:45 pm
    Allright guys, close this case, Cadence here knows all and has spoken. ◔̯◔
    While you may very well be right, there are plenty reasons other than distraction that might cause such an accident: a vehicle's tire can suddenly get blown, the road could suffer from a chemical spill, a large animal might cross the road, a passenger or the driver can suffer a seizure, a serial killer can randomly shoot at cars... Just because you've been blessed with safe weekly trips, you can't just blindly pin it on the only thing you were able to conclude.
  6. KukuiNut
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    KukuiNut - April 06, 2014 10:15 pm
    Cadence, there's a reason for everything. Just because you don't understand it or agree with it doesn't mean there wasn't a reason. And I'm repulsed by your heartless/judge mental comment, especially as the first comment to a tragic story! Shame on you.
  7. glenroy
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    glenroy - April 07, 2014 6:10 am
    You never take the time.
  8. Cadence
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    Cadence - April 07, 2014 7:03 am
    I realized too late my earlier post was harsh. A friend in the backup had called and I was upset after I looked up the accident and read about the child. The cause could have been a medical emergency or a mechanical failure. I wish I didn't see vehicles being poorly driven on 121 almost every time I drive to SR on weekends.
  9. Hasavoice
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    Hasavoice - April 07, 2014 7:28 am
    Very sad. Honestly you never COULD have been a sneeze that made the driver cross lanes. Very sad situation. My condolences.
  10. Mashed Potatoes
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    Mashed Potatoes - April 07, 2014 8:48 am
    Centerline Rumble Strips are proven to prevent all crossovers and road side rumble strips are proven to prevent all straying off the road...because they warn you...simple and inexpensive at about $50,000 per mile...The recent cross over that killed the Meadowwood worker on Silverado Trail could have been prevented by...simple rumble strips.
    When Rumble Strips were installed on the old Jamieson Canyon Road they "stopped" to crossovers.
    So who's to blame for the killing on these roads which lack the simplest and least expensive preventive measures? Napa County Road Department, that's who!
  11. mj napa
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    mj napa - April 07, 2014 8:57 am
    I hate hwy 12 - period. I prefer 880 over it. Since moving to Wine Country 7 years ago from the East Bay and then Walnut Creek - NEVER have I read/seen so many crashes that lead to fatalities. Sometimes, I really dislike living here. I've never felt so nervous driving my car.
    Something drastic needs to change with the roads - medians - speed limits - whatever!
  12. anothervoice
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    anothervoice - April 07, 2014 10:04 am
    It is nice to read contents of non=judgmental people and opinions. Thank heaven that law enforcement and court trial juries do not judge before knowing facts. And for that matter, our parents, teachers, employers, etc. The list goes on. So unfair to judge others.
  13. NV 50
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    NV 50 - April 07, 2014 10:34 am
    Insightful comment....
  14. NV 50
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    NV 50 - April 07, 2014 11:28 am
    Great Comment !
  15. LateNight
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    LateNight - April 07, 2014 9:52 pm
    Centerline rumble strips will NOT prevent all median crossovers, nor will sideline rumble strips prevent all cars from straying off the road. They WILL give you a warning, and if you're not past the "point of no return" give you a chance to recover if you're alert. If you're daydreaming, you may not respond in time or over-respond and still have an accident. That's why Highway 37 has the median barrier down the middle... rumble strips there didn't stop all accidents. I saw many head-on accidents or cars going into the water on Highway 37, both before and after the rumble strips were installed. After the median barrier was installed, I didn't see any more head-on accidents, just a few cars into the water on their side of the barrier.
  16. Michaelsmom
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    Michaelsmom - April 08, 2014 2:18 pm
    The sweet little boy was in a booster that just has the lower portion according to the other Napa Register article. Although those are the most affordable and convenient, they are not the safest option. It's too bad he wasn't in a five point harness with back and head support. That might have made a difference in the seriousness of the injuries. Rest in peace sweet little boy.
  17. Singledaddy
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    Singledaddy - April 13, 2014 9:14 am
    I too was involved in a head-on collision at about the same spot in March when a pick up truck entered into my lane. Luckily, I survived. This at-fault driver just blasted into my lane while his lane was heavy traffic!! This highway is horrible and I hardly see CHP out there watching speeders. We need more CHP presence on the 12.
  18. Hasavoice
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    Hasavoice - April 15, 2014 7:02 am
    How many deaths are going to happen before dividers are put in? So sad.
    Rip and my condolences to his family.
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