The aftermath of a solo car crash led to a fatal five-vehicle pileup on northbound state Highway 99 at Laguna Boulevard early Sunday morning, according to a California Highway Patrol press release.
Just before 1 a.m., Ricardo Salas, 20, was driving a 2003 Honda at 70 mph in the right lane when he came upon a much-slower-moving vehicle. He braked suddenly and swerved to the left, losing control of the car. The Honda rolled over into the center divider wall under the Laguna Boulevard overpass, coming to rest on its wheels in the left lane facing the wrong way.
Dan Perlea, 39, pulled over in a 2011 Jeep to help Salas move his car. The two men hooked the Honda up to Perlea’s Jeep with tow straps and were attempting to pull the car to the left shoulder when a motorcycle came down the left lane “at a high rate of speed,” the press release said.
The motorcyclist collided with the Honda, throwing the 26-year-old motorcyclist from his bike into the right lane, badly injuring him. His motorcycle came to rest in the center lane. The impact also caused the Honda to slam into the Jeep.
Shortly after the motorcycle collision, Isaias Godinez, 19, was driving his 2012 Ford at 70 mph in the left lane and didn’t see the wreckage from the previous crashes. He hit the Honda.
The final vehicle in the pileup came down the right lane – a 1989 Toyota driven by 53-year-old Rafael Martinez. He hit the motorcyclist, on the ground in the right lane, and dragged him several yards before stopping.
The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene. He will be identified by the coroner after his next of kin are notified. Salas and a passenger in Godinez’s car sustained minor injuries. Both declined a trip to the hospital.
Highway 99 was closed at Laguna Boulevard near Elk Grove from 1:15 until 3:30 a.m.