Crash in Walker Creek kills one


A Santa Rosa man died in a crash last Tuesday, just hours before the New Year, when his car spun off Shoreline Highway between Marshall and Tomales. Florentino Chavez-Garcia, 23, was pronounced dead shortly after firefighters rescued him from an overturned car that was practically underwater in Walker Creek. Witnesses said two cars, traveling north on the highway, crossed the double lines to pass slower traffic. As they neared a curve, the first car merged back into the correct lane, but Mr. Chavez-Garcia was not so lucky. He appeared to panic, witnesses told the California Highway Patrol, and lost control of his Honda. The car spun around, slid off the roadway, rolled into the creek and landed on its roof, almost entirely submerged in water. A passenger, Eber Magana, also of Santa Rosa, escaped with the help of other motorists who stopped to help. Mr. Magana was treated for minor injuries at Petaluma Valley Hospital and released. The influence of alcohol or drugs was not suspected, and no charges will likely be filed, a C.H.P. spokesman said.