Dangerous pass leaves two drivers dead

Two drivers were killed in a head-on collision on River Road west of Santa Rosa Monday afternoon after one of them tried to speed past vehicles in a no-passing zone, a California Highway Patrol officer said.

The collision happened around 2:30 p.m. when the driver of a 2001 Lexus traveling in the westbound direction crossed the double yellow line west of Laughlin Road, CHP Officer Jon Sloat said. Witnesses said the Lexus was driving recklessly and was in a long line of vehicles just east of the Martinelli Winery at 3360 River Road when the driver tried to pass the vehicles ahead, Sloat said.

The Lexus pulled in front of an oncoming eastbound Ford Ranger pickup truck, Sloat said. Both drivers appeared to swerve toward the shoulder to avoid each other but collided head-on, Sloat said. The Lexus landed on the right shoulder and caught fire and the Ford was thrown into a driveway on the south shoulder, Sloat said.

The Ford pickup sustained major front-end damage, pinning the driver inside, Sloat said. Both drivers were declared dead at the scene. The Ford driver was a 58-year-old Windsor man and the Lexus driver was not immediately identifiable because of injuries caused by the fire.