Woman shot after car chase dies


A woman who was shot by sheriff’s deputies in Sebastopol early Thursday following a pursuit from Windsor has died, Santa Rosa police said Friday.

Karen Janks, a 46-year-old transient with no known ties to Sonoma County, died at a hospital today while being treated for her injuries, according to police.

Janks was shot following a pursuit that began around 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday, after deputies received a report of a 1996 Infiniti G20 4-door driving backward and the wrong way, south in the northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 101 in Windsor, according to police.

The car made a U-turn and exited the highway in Windsor, and a deputy who spotted it driving recklessly around 11:50 p.m. tried to stop it on Old Redwood Highway near Starr Road, police said.

The Infiniti sped up and drove south on Highway 101 as fast as 100 mph, at one point without its lights on.

Deputies tried to stop the Infiniti with spike strips, but they had no effect and the vehicle exited the highway at Todd Road and drove west then north on Old Gravenstein Highway. It stopped around 12:06 a.m. in a parking lot at 2661 Old Gravenstein Highway, Navarro said.

Deputies ordered the woman driving, later identified as Janks, to surrender, but she allegedly accelerated in reverse and struck three deputies and a patrol vehicle behind them. Four deputies fired rounds into the vehicle striking the driver an undetermined amount of times, Navarro said.

Deputies took Janks out of the car and performed first aid until a CPR unit arrived. She was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment of her injuries.

Two deputies suffered minor injuries and a third was taken to a hospital and later released, the sheriff’s office said. All four were placed on paid administrative leave.

The deputies involved in the shooting have been identified as Joel Pedersen, a 24-year sheriff’s office employee who is assigned to the main office in Santa Rosa; James Falberg, a 9-year sheriff’s employee assigned to the Windsor Police Department; Lawrence Matelli, a 3-year-sheriff’s office employee with previous law enforcement experience who is assigned to the Windsor Police Department; and Daniel Edwards, a sheriff’s employee for one and a half years with previous law enforcement experience, who is assigned to the Windsor Police Department.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has asked the Marin County Coroner’s Office to conduct an autopsy to determine Janks’ cause of death.

The Santa Rosa Police Department is investigating the incident, and anyone who witnessed it is asked to call Santa Rosa police at (707) 543-3590.

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