HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE, Calif. – A 19-year-old Clearlake woman died and two other young women were injured in a single-vehicle crash Tuesday night near Hidden Valley Lake.
Leah Davidson Hernandez died at the scene of the wreck, which occurred just before 7 p.m. on Highway 29 north of the Spruce Grove Road Extension and Arabian Lane, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The driver in the crash, 23-year-old Nina A. Litzin of Clearlake, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, the CHP reported.
Hernandez was riding in the front passenger seat of a 1997 Chrysler Sebring convertible which Litzin was driving, with Tamara L. Davidson, 21, also of Clearlake, riding in the backseat, the CHP said.
The CHP investigation determined that Litzin was driving the Chrysler southbound in a reckless manner when she lost control.
A driver reported to the CHP that a vehicle was swerving behind them, attempted to pass and then went off the roadway and over an embankment.
The CHP said Litzin's Chrysler went off the west roadway edge, narrowly missing a guardrail.
The car continued down the embankment, hitting a tree and several rocks, before it rolled over and Hernandez was ejected from the vehicle, sustaining fatal injuries, according to the report.
The CHP said Litzin suffered a broken back and Davidson sustained minor injuries. Both were flown out to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in separate REACH air ambulances.
Before she was transported, Litzin was placed under arrest, the CHP said.
The CHP said it's still trying to determine whether the women were using seatbelts.
The crash's exact cause also is still under investigation, the agency said.
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